Let the March Winds Blow

When I was a child, March was the time when we would go outside and try to fly our kits. These kits weren’t very sophisticated, just some very light paper covering a two piece wooden frame which was in the shape of a cross. If the wind was blowing hard, the kits would twist and turn in a crazy circle until we added a tail made from a piece of string that had folded pieces of newspaper in the shape of a bow tie attached to the piece of string.

Today, our understanding of aerodynamic shapes and airfoils has become much more sophisticated. If you drive down route 21 from Naples to North Cohocton and then further on down route 21 to Wayland, you will see some very impressive wind turbines. These machines stand some 450 feet tall on top of the hills which rise up out of the rolling farm land. Each blade is 90 meters (270 feet long) and under the right conditions, a single wind turbine can generate 2.3 megawatts of electricity.

Generating electricity by using the winds in the Finger Lakes is a just a small part of the answer to our energy needs, but I can see that it is part of a larger plan to conserve energy and to use renewable sources of energy like dams across streams, ethanol made from corn, or electricity generated by a solar panel. And wasn’t it the abundance of water falls in the Finger Lakes region which helped power the industrial revolution while the Finger Lakes themselves, their connecting waterways, and the Great Lakes provided a  cheap way to transport those goods to New York City and beyond?

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