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Partridge Farm

Photo: Windmills working hard as wind picks up

By Howard B. Owens

By early this evening, the wind was whipping enough to really turn the blades on the windmills on Partridge Farms on Ellicott Street Road, Batavia.

There is a weather advisory in place until 9 p.m. There's a 90-percent chance of rain storms after 9 p.m.

The good news is, clear skies tomorrow, or so they say.

Photos: Windmill raising on Partridge Farm, Batavia

By Howard B. Owens

A third windmill went up on the Partridge Farm on Ellicott Street Road, Batavia, today.

Don and Pat Partridge, who acquired the farm from the White family in 1980, installed their first two windmills four years ago.

Those power plants have supplied about 50 percent of the farm's electricity and with the new windmill, Don hopes to reach 100 percent, or close to it.

"The new windmill is about 30 percent more productive," Partridge said.

The list price on the windmill is close to $75,000, but Partridge received a state grant and won a competitive USDA grant.

He expects to break even on his investment within 12 years (as he will with the first two windmills).

The windmills have an expected useful life of 25 years.

"It's the last half of their life where I'll enjoy them the most," Partridge said.

Partridge, who now works at Cummings & Bricker on Lehigh Street, quit full-time farming in 1999 for "a paying job," but he still raises some corn and hay and has a few head of cattle. The rest of the acreage is run by another dairy farmer.

"We're in a very wind-productive area," Partridge said. "It's Class C wind, which is productive wind. I think we have more wind power than solar."

With all that wind, Partridge said he doesn't understand the resistance to wind power.

"We would like to see more people get involved in solar and wind," Partridge said. "I just don’t understand all of the resistance to the big ones. I wish I had some big-wind ones up here. If the town put four big ones up here, the town residents could get credit for their electric bills. I would think that would be worth doing."

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