Trying to Catch the Wind, The Green Leaf Inn Wind Turbine is on Site and Almost on Line

The Green Leaf Inn took delivery on December 29, 2009 of an Endurance E-3120 wind turbine. In a few weeks, when the weather allows, installation of what might be the largest privately owned wind turbine in the United States will be complete.

Delavan, WI, February 06, 2010 --( Neighbors who drove down State Highway 50 as dawn broke on December 29, 2009, past the site where the Green Leaf Inn will soon sit, had reason to be curious. A long line of flatbed trucks sat on the shoulder of the road. They were waiting to offload their cargo: what might be the largest privately owned wind turbine in the United States. In a few weeks, when the weather allows, installation will be completed, and a major green energy source for the first net-zero bed and breakfast inn in the Midwest will be ready to go online.

“We’re looking to put Walworth County on the map as a potential green hot spot,” say Fritz Kreiss, who co-owns the Inn with his wife, Catherine McQueen. “The Green Leaf Inn will be a major statement in our efforts. I suppose you could call this turbine the exclamation point.” The turbine is a 50kW Endurance Wind Power E-3120. The turbine’s monopole will rise 120 feet, to catch as much wind as possible, with the blades arcing almost thirty feet higher at the top of their rotation. “This part of Wisconsin is a Class 3 wind area, which translates to an average wind speed of around eleven miles an hour. That’s the minimum for a turbine that feeds the electric grid,” says Kreiss. “Class 7 is the highest; you’d have to go out on the Great Plains, into the mountain passes of the Rockies, or out on the open ocean to find that.”

The Endurance E-3120 is one of a new generation of quiet, highly efficient small wind turbines, and the Green Leaf Inn is only the second location in America to feature it. “We believe that, once installed, this will be the largest privately owned turbine in America,” says Kreiss. “If there’s a larger one out there, I’d really like to meet the owners and swap a few stories.”

Kreiss estimates that the Green Leaf Inn’s turbine will generate 112,000 kilowatt hours of electricity every year, which will meet much of the Inn’s anticipated electric load. The Green Leaf Inn will incorporate a variety of green power sources beyond wind, including solar, geothermal and biomass. “Our goal is net-zero, which means that we feed the grid at least as much as we use it,” he says. “For every day that we have to take power from the grid because of low on-site generation, we give back at least as much power on the days when all systems are running at peak efficiency.”

Net-zero status is an important goal for the Green Leaf Inn. Kreiss firmly believes that distributed generation, where every house provides as much electricity as possible on site, is a key to making green energy work in America. “It’s not a new idea, actually. It’s as old as the smokestack and the coal scuttle,” he says. “We think of the future of green energy as huge wind farms and solar installations, but the turbine in the back yard and the solar panels on the roof and the biomass boiler in the basement are going to be just as important if green energy is to work. So is the energy-efficient washer and the ‘smart’ sensor that turns off the lights when you’re not in the room. You simply don’t get the massive generation that fossil fuels provide from green energy sources, so you’ve got to be opportunistic and look for every chance to reduce your reliance on electricity from the public wires. Net-zero should be a goal for every new building, and the Green Leaf Inn will be a showcase.”

The purchase of the turbine was aided by a $100,000 grant from Wisconsin’s Focus On Energy program, as well as federal incentives that will cover 30% of the cost. “Without the incentives, there is no way this could have happened,” Kreiss admits. “These government programs are money well spent, and are necessary for green energy right now. There’s a good Web site to find out what’s available at the federal, state and local level everywhere in the country. It’s I strongly recommend people check it out. And I strongly recommend that these programs keep being funded, because they’re helping make green energy happen.”

Construction of the turbine began in November, when a cement foundation reaching seventeen feet across and six feet deep was poured at the site. “Didn’t help the garden much,” says Kreiss. “But I suppose you could consider this a different kind of planting. And there’s more digging ahead for the wires that will connect us to the grid.” It is anticipated that the installation will be complete before the end of February.

About The Green Leaf Inn:

The Green Leaf Inn, scheduled to open in Summer 2010, will be a 19-room luxury bed and breakfast inn. The Inn is located in Delavan, Wisconsin, just off State Highway 50 and west of Route 67. The Inn will incorporate green energy sources, renewable and sustainable materials and practices, and environmentally responsible land and water use.

The Green Leaf Inn
Catherine McQueen