From wind to electricity on the Brooklyn waterfront
On the Brooklyn waterfront, “everyone knows it’s windy,” as the old song goes. So what better place to harness the power of the wind to generate electricity?
On Wednesday, Sims Municipal Recycling, which operates the city’s largest recycling facility for metal, glass and plastic on the Sunset Park waterfront, will dedicate its new wind turbine. The turbine, the first of its kind in the New York City area, is slated to generate 100 kwh of electricity for the plant’s operations.
Although the use of wind turbines to generate power is widespread in Europe, with its huge wind farms, the technology has been slow to catch on here. Several recently completed residential buildings, including 388 Bridge St. in Brooklyn, have installed smaller versions of the devices on their rooftops. However, the Sims wind turbine is certainly the city’s largest.
(If you’re wondering about the difference between a wind turbine and a windmill, a wind turbine uses the power of the wind to generate electricity. A windmill uses that same power to grind grain and pump water. Windmills, even in the Netherlands, have been declining since the 19th century.)
In addition to its environmental benefits, the Sunset Park wind turbine will be a “proud addition to the borough’s skyline,” according to Victoria O’Neill, a spokeswoman for Sims. The turbine measures “160 feet tall to the top of its blades, which are nearly 40 feet long.”
This is the height “of an average 12-story building,” added Scott Miller, chief corporate counsel for Sims Metal Management, the parent company of Sims Municipal Recycling.
The recycling plant, which is formally known as the Sunset Park Material Recovery Facility (MRF), opened in 2013, and already has a 600 kw solar installation on site.
Together, according to O’Neill, these two state-of-the-art devices will ensure that 20 percent of the power at the MRF will come from renewable energy.
The MRF is located on an 11-acre, city-owned pier at 30th Street and the Brooklyn waterfront. It processes more than 15,000 tons a month of metal, glass and plastic collected by the Sanitation Department.
The dedication ceremony begins at 10:30 a.m., with tours of the facilities starting at 11 a.m.