Business & Policy
On-farm Wind Power: Bayview Poultry Farms installs wind turbines
By Dan Woolley
Bayview Poultry Farms installs wind turbines
By Dan Woolley
Glen Jennings of Masstown, N.S., can justifiably consider himself a
poultry industry pioneer. His Bayview Poultry Farms Ltd. is one of the
very first Nova Scotia farms to install wind turbines to generate
to reduce energy consumption and produce environmentally friendly eggs
|Glen Jennings of Bayview Poultry Farms says the wind turbines will not only reduce energy costs but help to produce a more environmentally friendly product.|
Glen Jennings of Masstown, N.S., can justifiably consider himself a poultry industry pioneer. His Bayview Poultry Farms Ltd. is one of the very first Nova Scotia farms to install wind turbines to generate electricity.
Jennings currently has three on-farm wind turbines, each of which at peak performance
will generate up to 2.4 kilowatts per hour, enough power to supply 75 per cent of Bayview’s electrical demand.
The turbines generate electricity at the same amperage and voltage as that supplied to the farm from the Nova Scotia Power grid, "so there is no need for a transformer or battery boxes," says Mark Richard, president of the Second Source Power company Ltd., who supplied and installed the turbines.
Richard also notes the turbine blades will start spinning in a very light breeze of just eight miles per hour. Depending on prevailing, long-term wind conditions on the site, he estimates it will be between five and 10 years before the turbine system will pay for itself.
The three turbines Bayview now has represent “just phase one,” he says, as Jennings intends to add another four to six wind turbines to his on-farm electrical generation system.
Wind-generated electricity reduces the poultry farm’s demand on the Nova Scotia Power system. "When the turbines over-produce power on a nice windy day, they will spin your power meter backward and you will get a credit for contributing power to the grid," Jennings says.
His three turbines began producing power at the end of August and in their first two months of operation there were only five days when they were not generating, he says. "It will take a full year before we know what they will do, because the fall and winter months are the most windy here. It will take a year of collecting data and another year of planning before we have the full farm at net zero where we are not consuming power off the grid."
Jennings’ ultimate goal is to have a zero power bill.
His farm, next to Cobequid Bay, is in a very windy location and so Jennings’ initial goal was to save money on his big power bill by harvesting the wind in a size of turbine that fitted his size of farm operation. His 12,000 layers produce 10,000 eggs daily and Bayview’s poultry housing, egg grading and cooling facilities consume 110,000 kilowatts of electricity annually.
But, after he discussed his power needs with Richard, Jennings says his goal also acquired an environmental dimension. “This is when we got into a different discussion about saving the environment with a renewable, green energy. This is important to me as a farmer that I produce environmentally friendly eggs.”
Since doing Bayview Farms’ installation, Richard has erected turbines at two other nearby farms, including Glen’s cousin Dave’s dairy farm next door.
Richard says it is very easy to hook up the turbines into a farm’s barns and other buildings as their current feeds into the electrical panel connected to the farm’s regular power supply.
This will help lower the on-farm installation cost, he says, adding, “all the farmers I worked with helped install their turbines. This also helped keep their costs down and helped them understand the system.”
Richard continues, “it is very low maintenance,” requiring just a visual inspection just once a year.
The turbine comes with a five-year warranty and should run for 30 years before requiring any physical maintenance, he says.
Its components are Canadian- and U.S.-made and it takes six weeks to install, costing between $20,000 to $26,000 per turbine.
Second Source’s vice-president, Sandy Hines, observes, “Bayview has a phenomenal location to generate wind power. It is also a very innovative farm business, being a leader in its industry and one of the very first farms in the province to adopt wind power.”
Two senior provincial politicians felt the official ribbon cutting for the Bayview Farms wind turbine system to be a significant enough event to attend.
Environment Minister Mark Parent declared: “One of the biggest environmental challenges Nova Scotia has is greenhouse gas management.”
Parent commented: “Bayview and Second Source has seen this environmental challenge as an opportunity.”
Education Minister Karen Casey, the MLA for the riding of Colchester North in which Bayview Farms is located, said she is very proud about what Jennings did, adding it took “courage and vision.”
Margaret Murphy of Nova Scotia Power was pleased that her utility company played a role in linking to Bayview’s turbine through its recently established net metering program.
She said such a link would have been impossible 20 years ago as Nova Scotia Power was prohibited from buying power from independent generating sources and the wind turbines of that time were unreliable and expensive.
Glen Jennings remarked about his father, Cecil, who is supposedly retired, but still works every day on the farm: “Normally, before we make a major purchase like a new delivery truck, he usually hems and haws for a few days; but when I asked about a wind turbine to run the farm his immediate comment was ‘Well, we certainly have enough wind to do that.’”