The Stafford County skyline looks a little different south of Hudson as the Stafford County Flour Mill goes green.
No the high-quality flour the mill is renown for will not be coming out green, but with the newly installed wind-powered turbine the power going into the plant will be.
According to Mill President, Reuel Foote the company decided to put up the power turbine in 2013.
“One of the largest input costs to making flour is electricity,” he said. “With electricity rates rising we looked at different options to help control our input costs.”
Reuel stated that Hudson is in a prime corridor for wind power and outside the restricted area for wildlife.
The 850KW turbine will produce the majority if not all the flour mill’s power usage making it the first plant of it’s kind to use mostly Green energy in the production of its product.
“One of the largest growing markets for flour is organic,” said Asst Manager, Derek Foote. “Our flour mill is organic certified, and the flour we make goes all over the United States. Being able to make it and market organic flour using wind energy should open up new markets in areas of the country where we do not have as much presence.”
While the project itself was in the works for several years, once all the pieces were on site putting the 275-foot tall structure in place took only a matter of a few days.
The 180-foot tower was hoisted into placed in three sections beginning on Oct. 31. At one point the project got ahead of schedule but weather conditions on Monday stalled construction. The top section and Nacelle turbine head were lifted into place on Tuesday by a crane with a maximum lift height of 430 feet.
Wednesday workers donned warm clothes and safety tethers as one worked on the top of the 180-foot tall structure preparing for the final step. Later that afternoon two cranes slowly began lifting the rotor hub and three large blades from a horizontal position on the ground to its lofty perch on the nose of the power unit adorned with an 8-foot cow, the Hudson Cream logo and Stafford County Flour Mill Co.
Signtec, owned and operated by Brett Younie of St. John, manufactured and mounted the larger than life logos on both sides of the turbine.
Younie said putting the large decals on at ground level before the turbine was mounted wasn’t bad, but he wouldn’t have wanted to do it after it was put in place.
The 8’x8’ logo was produced on two 4’x8’ panels.
At one point the project got ahead of schedule and according to Derek there was some talk about having to put at least one side on after the Nacelle was in place.
“Handling those large panels in the wind wasn’t much fun,” Younie said, “But there’s no way they’d have gotten me to do it way up there.”
The flour mill partnered with HTWN, Greensburg and SED, Ontario N.Y. on the project. The turbine itself is manufactured in Spain and over 10,000 of the units have been installed worldwide. The life expectancy of the turbine is 20-25 years.
It will take another 2-3 months of testing and certification before the turbine will be online.