Saturday, February 12, 2011

Maryland Winery uses renewable energy credits to buy green electricity from Texas

Wind power energizes Mount Airy winery
Linganore Winecellars uses renewable energy credits to buy green electricity from Texas
by Angie Cochrun
Thursday, Feb. 10, 2011
The Gazette (MD)

At Linganore Winecellars and Berrywine Plantations, wind turbines power the tasting room refrigerators, the rattle of the bottling line, and when summer festivals come around, they'll power the music too.

But the windmills lighting up the winery since Feb. 1 aren't spinning away on the Mount Airy property. Instead, they're part of a turbine farm far away made accessible through a green energy company Clean Currents, a Rockville-based company that allows customers to buy clean energy credits to neutralize their power usage.

A new power source has been on the mind of the winery's president and winemaker Anthony Aellen for a long time, he said.

For 25 years, the winery has maintained a recycling program with its pulp and even donated byproducts of the winemaking process to help make nontoxic children's modeling clay for local nursery schools.

And an integrated pest-management system has cut down on spraying in the vineyard, but Aellen was still seeking out more ways to be a steward to the land.

Aellen said he had investigated solar power about eight years ago, but the upfront cost was too much. The panels cost $50,000 each, and what he would need topped at $800,000 for one-third of the winery's power. So he turned to wind energy two years ago, and was disappointed by some initial research. "I found out that we really don't live in a very strong wind environment," he said.

But then he got some calls and realized wind energy was a possibility without a line of turbines on his farm or changing any wiring.

"Somebody else has put up the turbines, they deal with the maintenance, and I buy the product from them," he said

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