Highland Resident Wants Farm To Be An Ecological Example Of Using Alternative Energies Wisely

Doe Hill, VA – High winds have been a regular occurrence over the past 2 months in Highland County, reaching over 50 miles per hour on several occasions. For many, these winds are a nuisance, bringing down trees, causing power outages, damaging roofs and increasing residential heating costs. However, Doe Hill Resident Josh Bennett hopes to take advantage of the winds that commonly sweep over Highland County most months of the year and use them to help power the small farm he occupies with his mother, Marsha. Josh talks about how he got interested in renewable energy systems.

“I’ve been interested in alternative energy for some time” says Bennett. “I studied organic agriculture in Europe, and I studied in Austria there and I noticed that many of the farms there were using bio-methane digesters to operate their farms on; many residential wind set ups there as well as solar. It just seemed like a really efficient system; a lot more ecologically sound than burning coal and massive hydroelectric plants, so I did like that aspect of it.”

Josh goes on to discuss how renewable energy fits into his plan for the farm.

“I think this system and perhaps some passive solar later on and some active solar, it just really fits into the overall plan that I have for the farm over time” he says. “I want it to be an example of a ecologically managed farm, a showcase of what can be done with agriculture today on a small scale.”

Josh also hopes to get training in design and installation of residential wind energy systems.

“I think this is going to be a growing trend not only in our area, but in the country” he says. “It is time for some alternative energies to be coming to the forefront. And that being said..I think there’s going to be opportunity for a small business installing these systems at a residential level for people who are building off grid and overall new designs for farms and homes.”

At the Highland County Planning Commission meeting in late November, Josh’s application for a conditional use permit for a residential wind generator on a 60 foot monopole was approved by the commission and Board of Supervisors. He and his contractor, Skyline Turbine, hope to break ground on the installation in December.

Story By

Heather Niday

Heather is our Program Director and Traffic Manager. She started with Allegheny Mountain Radio as a volunteer deejay. She then joined the AMR staff in February of 2007. Heather grew up in the Richmond, Virginia, area and now lives in Arbovale, West Virginia with her husband Chuck. Heather is a wonderful flute player, and choir director for Arbovale UMC. You can hear Heather along with Chuck on Tuesday nights from 6 to 8pm as they host two hours of jazz on Something Different.

Current Weather