Wind company joins Greene Accelerator
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This Mass Megawatts MAT system prototype in Charlton, Mass., though not shown totally complete, still illustrates the company’s patented system of vertical axis turbines that are ganged together to provide unified, strong output without having to go hundreds of feet into the air on a tower. Catskill Mountain Wind Management is their NYS licensed marketer and now a member of the Greene Accelerator. Courtesy Mass Megawatts Wind Power
CMW holds NYS license for Mass. turbine developer
By Jim Planck
A new wind power company with the goal of having a manufacturing facility in Greene County has joined the Greene Accelerator, the joint economic effort of the Greene County Industrial Development Agency and the Albany-based, not-for-profit Center for Economic Growth....
The new Accelerator member is wind turbine company Catskill Mountain Wind Management, which holds the NYS license for the technology of national turbine developer and manufacturer Mass Megawatts Wind Power, Inc., of Worcester, Mass.
Mass Megawatts has developed a state-of-the-art Multi-Axis Turbosystem and Augmenter — a very different kind of windmill — and it is that which CMW is bringing to the county.
IDA chairman Paul Slutzky said Monday the deal has been in development for some time, and that it brings important benefits with it to the county’s economy and workforce.
“The IDA has been working with principals of CMW for over a year,” said Slutzky, “to help them locate in Greene County.”
“CMW is exactly the type of new technology firm we targeted for the Greene Accelerator,” Slutzky said, “and we look forward to working with them to advance their business plan.”
In turn, CMW chief executive officer Frank Smollon said the IDA has exhibited every assistance.
“The enthusiasm and vision demonstrated by the Greene IDA since my first visit in 2008,” said Smollon, “was a major factor in our decision to bring Catskill Mountain Wind Management to the Greene Accelerator.”
“In addition to the exceptional wind resources located in the Catskills,” Smollon said, “the opportunities for long term benefits to local communities, and access to the knowledge base of the IDA staff, is very exciting.”
The plan will focus on three areas — marketing, putting in a manufacturing facility, and working on a “community wind” test model project.
The marketing, besides sales, also includes educating people about the benefits of small vertical axis turbines, essentially “ganged” together into the Multiple-Axis units of the MAT system.
These benefits include being able to perform at much lower heights. Output from traditional large commercial horizontal axis units that stand 300 to 400 feet apparently can be equaled by commercial MAT units that require less than eighty feet.
Mass Megawatts CEO and president Jonathan Ricker, was in Coxsackie Sunday, and met with CMW and Accelerator personnel.
Ricker commented on the intense level of testing the system design has undergone, and the importance of the MAT system to both the industry and the environment.
“Mass Megawatts has rolled out a thoroughly proven and commercialized ‘next generation’ of the patented Multi-Axis Turbosystem and Augmenter,” said Ricker.
“We’ve been able to finalize a manufacturing platform that delivers tremendous value to our rapidly growing customer base,” he said.
“There’s a pent-up demand for the new technology,” Ricker said, “and we’re well positioned to deliver.”
“Until recently,” he added, “we were still on our research and development track.”
“Today,” he noted, “we’re a ‘go-to-market’ enterprise with a new product that is being rapidly adopted.”
IDA executive director Sandy Mathes said that MAT system maintenance costs are also a benefit, with a reduction of more than 75-percent to “less than 25-percent of the O&M [operations and maintenance] costs associated with traditional windmills.”
“While there are a wide number of new wind technologies that utilize vertical technology,” said Mathes, “these units have been limited in their size and output, unlike the MAT system, which can be scaled to meet needs ranging from residential or commercial uses to industrial wind projects.”
“The partnership of Greene IDA and CMW is working on several fronts to bring the benefits of wind generation to Greene County on a larger scale,” he said.
“The IDA is assisting CMW with marketing of the technology,” Mathes said, “with the goal of establishing a manufacturing facility for MAT units in Greene County.”
“The IDA will assist the company with locating and outfitting a production facility that will result in significant jobs,” he said.
“In addition to the direct manufacturing operation,” said Mathes, “the CMW business plan also establishes a division of the company that will install and service the MAT units, which will provide excellent opportunities for local students to be trained and employed, working in the alternative energy field.”
Besides marketing and manufacturing, CMW will also partner with the IDA and the Town of Hunter in developing a community wind project.
“The site is the location of the former Hunter Landfill,” said Mathes, “and analysis of wind resources has shown it to have excellent potential for wind power generation.”
Hunter Town Supervisor Dennis Lucas agreed.
“The Town of Hunter is pleased to have the opportunity to work with the Greene IDA and CMW to explore the harvesting of the wind resources that blow across our landfill site,” Lucas said.
The initial project calls for placement of a 10 kW unit at the landfill this fall, by the second week of September, to power the town’s wetlands leachate treatment system, as well as generate excess power.
It is during that same time frame that Mass Megawatts’ commercialized MAT system, via Catskill Mountain Wind Management, will showcase at Hunter Mountain Resort for the “I Ski New York” Expo, an industry conference with ski resort owners, operators, and managers from across the Northeast in attendance.
The company is looking at ski resorts as potential users, given their high electricity usage needs, as well as the ski industry’s desire to go as green as possible to stay with the sensitivities of their clientele, but to avoid tall wind towers.
One such instance occurred in May, when Pennsylvania’s Camelback Mountain Resort president Arthur Berry III took an equity position — basically bought a stake — in Electric City Wind Power Corp., the Pennsylvania-based counterpart of Catskill Mountain Wind.
Electric City is the Pennsylvania license holder for Mass Megawatts’ technology in the keystone state, and Camelback is in the resort-laden Pocono Mountains, in a community that also shares a local name — Tannersville.
Electric City purchased a 550 kW project from Mass Megawatts in April, and the buyer’s senior attorney Christopher Powell, of Scranton, Penn., and one of the deal’s negotiators, noted afterward, “Municipalities that have enacted ordinances to keep the monster turbines out have reacted extremely favorable to the 65-foot high MAT units.”
It is that concept, in part, which makes the units so attractive to the both the market and to economic developers.
In further example, tying the two areas together in addressing ski resort needs is the expertise of CMW’s CEO Frank Smollon, who, according to the July 5, 2009 issue of the Scranton-based Times-Union, is also, or was, Electric City’s general manager, and gave a presentation to nearby Taylor Borough officials about doing a municipal wind project.
In short, there is a simultaneous push going on for MAT systems in the Poconos, equally targeted for the ski industry, and equally offering the visual, wattage, and maintenance benefits of the new systems, which, to wind industry standards, have been validated.
Hunter’s community wind project thus offers not only start-up potential, but the ability to significantly expand.
“In a community wind scenario,” said Mathes, “public and private partnerships take advantage of the full suite of state and federal grants, tax credits, accelerated depreciation, and other programs to fund the project.”
“Benefits to the community can include deeply discounted or free electricity to offset municipal or institutional use -- favorable electricity rates for key high-energy-use commercial operations that are critical to the community’s economic health,” he said, “as well as a direct stream of income through the sale of electricity produced, as well as selling Renewable Energy Credits (REC).”
That the federal government is responsive to the changing technology and the need for alternative energy is evidenced by the assistance of U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, who sits on the Senate’s Energy Committee.
Gillibrand reportedly met with Mass Megawatts, including CEO Ricker, and Accelerator officials Sunday to get input and an update on matters, apparently at the new Catskill Mountain Wind Management office at the Accelerator headquarters in Coxsackie.
Officials have expressed their appreciation throughout of the federal support the Accelerator program has received through Gillibrand’s efforts, which are evidenced, in part, by her commitment to use alternative technology in assisting the region’s economy.
To reach reporter Jim Planck, call 518-943-2100, ext. 3324, or e-mail [email protected]. To comment on this story, visit www.thedailymail.net.