In Sunset Park, Brooklyn, a proud wind turbine stands 160 feet tall, producing enough energy to completely power two homes for one year, or one 20-watt light-bulb for a century. However, this turbine will be used to supply about 4 percent of the power needs of a recycling plant at the South Brooklyn Marine Terminal.
At a ribbon-cutting opening ceremony held last week, the general manager of the Sims Metal Management plant, Thomas Outerbridge, described the four-year, sometimes challenging, process of turning the dream of using wind to power his plant into reality.
“They say, ‘If you can do it in New York, you can do it anywhere”™ ” Mr. Outerbridge said. “And if you do it in Brooklyn, you can do it anywhere and you can be very cool.”
The recycling plant opened in 2013 and has been processing the majority of New York’s curbside metal since then. Even before bringing the wind turbine online the plant, which is an Australian-owned business, were getting about 16 percent of their energy from solar panels on the roof of the plant. The rest of their energy needs come from traditional sources. On December 17, 2014 the Sims plant added wind energy as one of its power sources. It was the very first large-scale wind turbine to be installed in the city.
Smaller turbines are found in other parts of town. They are usually only about 20 feet tall, and produce one kilowatt of electricity, as compared to the 100 kilowatts produced by the Sunset Park turbine. The smaller wind turbines are used to power residential or smaller commercial buildings. The Whole Foods grocery store in Gowanus is one example.