Airport Gets On-Site Wind Turbine

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Heritage Aviation, Burlington International Airport's new general aviation facility, has installed -- onsite -- a wind turbine, claiming "a first for renewables and aviation industries," according to Heritage. The Northwind 100 (100-kilowatt) turbine erected at the airport stands 121 feet tall, measuring from atop the 41-foot-diameter rotor's disc area. The airport hosts a number of instrument approaches, and Heritage pushed through heavy FAA scrutiny with the help of turbine supplier Alteris Renewables. "Basically we had a very close look at radar maps and found a 10-foot circle where this could go," Nils Behn, director of Alteris' wind division, told the Burlington Free Press. Another turbine erected by the University of Vermont is close to the airport and won FAA approval in part because it was constructed next to a larger pre-existing water tower.

Presumably with the FAA's blessing, Heritage is using the turbine along with a solar hot water system and 120 210-watt solar panels to offset energy costs by an estimated $14,600 per year. Turbines like the Northwind 100 are expected to pay for themselves through energy cost savings anywhere from five to ten years after installation. At Heritage, the overall clean energy project cost -- which includes a 79,000 square-foot facility -- is about $18 million.