Friday, November 21, 2008

"Scone Day" comes to Davis Square

Please bear with us: this blog entry does have something to do with wind energy -- just read through!

In the wake of the election of our country's first African-American president, a Black church in Massachusetts was burned under suspicious circumstances, apparently in a reaction to the election. (Later we have learned that several others nationwide were burned -- see "Pam's House Blend" for an article on some of these acts of racism). We all feel somewhat powerless in the face of news like this, but many of Second Wind's employees this week gave their time to support an organization that is doing something to help these churches -- the National Coalition for Burned Churches and Community Empowerment.

Founded in 1997 by Rev. Terrance G. Mackey, Sr. and a handful of mostly rural, Southern, African-American church leaders and allies, this coalition is committed to helping churches respond to and recover from burnings. Rev. Mackey's own church in South Carolina was burned in 1996 and he told me that he wanted to do something to help churches and their congregations who found themselves in the same situation. Not only does the Coalition offer resources for churches who have suffered at the hands of arsonists and vandals, it also promotes research into the root causes of this problem and offers youth and leadership development programs to build strength within communities.

In my quest to learn more about the problems of church burning and how individuals -- or corporations -- could help, I had the honor of speaking both to Rev. Mackey and to Bishop Bryant Robinson of the Macedonia Church in Springfield, the church that was burned earlier this month. Both men impressed me with their dignity and determination to focus on positive deeds under the most materially and spiritually trying of circumstances.

I live in West Medford, very close to Second Wind's Davis Square headquarters, and have been doing a "Scone Day" fundraiser in my neighborhood every year since just after 9/11. It is a simple concept . . . it's like a bake sale coming to you. I bring leaflets all over my neighborhood, inviting my neighbors to pre-order scones, and then on the morning of "Scone Day" I deliver them very fresh homemade scones. By now I've gotten pretty good at scone baking and have a small but vocal group of scone fans. (For all those who have asked me over the years, I use Rose Levy Beranbaum's recipe, and no, you can't have a copy of it -- buy her excellent Pie & Pastry Bible.) Each year the money Scone Day raises goes to a different organization or cause.

I had already done this year's Scone Day when we all heard about the Macedonia Church, a Black church in Springfield, Massachusetts, getting burned. With enthusiastic support from my co-workers, we decided to try the "Scone Day" concept in our business neighborhood, selling scones to raise money for the National Coalition for Burned Churches.

Unfortunately, leafletting local businesses didn't work as well as it does in my residential neighborhood. A few of us went all around Davis Square with leaflets copied on bright pink paper and we got a few smiles, but no takers. However, people inside our company (who admittedly have sampled my scones) enthusiastically ordered tons of them, and so on Monday, we will be sending a modest, but heartfelt, donation to the National Council for Burned Churches and Community Empowerment.

One of the things that struck me in media coverage of the Springfield church burning is that it was hard to figure out how to help. I left a message on the church's voice mail, and the call was returned by Bishop Bryant Robinson. Bishop Robinson told me that although insurance will cover most of the damages, his church would be grateful for any donations to help with the rebuilding project. I promised at the beginning of this blog entry that there would be a tie-in to wind power, and here it is. When most people think of scones, the first ingredient that comes to mind is butter. (Correct me if I'm wrong?) We recently learned that the White Wave Company, makers of Silk Soymilk (you know, the brand with the wind turbines on their packaging?) is the manufacturer of Land'o'Lakes butter. Bingo!

If you would like to join Second Wind's employees in trying to help churches of all denominations recover from these acts of tragedy, you may support the National Coalition for Burned Churches by visiting the Donation page at the NCFBC website. Contributions to help the Springfield church may be made by making a check payable to Macedonia Church and sending to the Macedonia Church Fund, c/o Morrison Mahoney LLP, 1500 Main Street, P.O. Box 15387, Springfield, MA 01115-5387.

Friday, November 14, 2008

We Won't Get Fooled Again . . . We Hope!

We received an e-mail Thursday that said:

Dear Sir/Madam, My name is Rev. Larry Clark.i want to order some of your product to one of my new Orphanage home in Ghana.I want to know the types of Loggers,Recorders,data loggers and recorders,Test and Measurement Equipment,controllers and Panel Meters you have or give me your website so that i will select the type of product i want to order please.i live in Florida and i am on a trip now.WHAT TYPE OF PAYMENT DO YOU ACCEPT?Thank you.Rev Larry.

What a great opportunity! A chance to sell some merchandise, and help out a worthy cause in Africa. Who wouldn’t jump at the chance? I responded as we would to any prospective customer, answering his questions promptly and courteously. He asked for 15 loggers. As we corresponded and I attempted to verify payment information and other details, his emails became increasingly more urgent. In addition, he refused to use anything other than his preferred shipping company, P K K shipping, which can be seen in another one of his e-mails here:

Thats good but i have not us that shipping before and i am comfortable with the P K K shipping company thats why i want you to mail them now please.please adviseRev Larrk

As if this weren’t fishy enough already, this part really struck a chord with us (plus, spelling your own name wrong is not helping your cause). No one around here had ever heard of P K K shipping, so we decided to investigate. Our first step was to Google 'P K K Shipping' (not to be confused with a terrorist group called the Kurdish Worker’s Party?) What we found was a huge number of complaints about the scam being run by P K K Shipping. Everyone mentioned the exact same story that Rev. Larry had sent to me about an orphanage in Ghana and traveling in Florida. Many of the people writing about it online said they were baiting him and were going to contact the FBI about him. It's also worth mentioning that I found two real Rev. Larry Clarks, presumably doing God’s work and not trying to conduct Internet scams!

Seeing there was nothing more I could do, I decided to ignore him and move on…until he called. I could barely understand a word he was saying on the phone. I mentioned that I looked up P K K shipping online, and as soon as the word scam came out of my mouth, the phone clicked dead and he disappeared as quickly as he arrived. I’ll always have a place for you in my heart, and I’m sure the police will always have a place in their cell for you my sweet Reverend Larry Clark.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Tufts students visit Second Wind

Former intern Nicole Slaughter is now a junior advisor for the CSEMS program at Tufts. This unpronounceable acronym is a mentoring program for students in Computer Science, Engineering, and Mathematics (the final "S" is for Scholars. These students' workstudy job is to be mentored by faculty advisors and peer mentors, and to attend on-campus workshops and field trips. Second Wind was a good choice for a field trip because it's very close to the Tufts campus. The field trips are done during the students' lunch break, and the one van delivered them in two successive groups. Besides former intern Nicole, one of our current interns is a recent Tufts grad, and our founder and CEO Walter Sass is a Tufts alum.

It was awkward from the get-go because during lunch the office is underpopulated, so there aren't as many friendly faces to explain what they do. There was quite a bit of pointing at empty chairs. Walter toured the students through our production facility, showing them how we build and ship thousands of units from our fairly anonymous Davis Square location. He also showed them some of the Triton testing equipment, whereupon some brightened as they recognized familiar tools like the oscilloscope.

Intern Andrew toured them around the rest of the company. He spends most of his time in engineering and testing, so I filled in explaining sales. My quick summary: sales from the salespeople pay the salaries of the engineers, and if you don't want a Dilbert job as an engineer, you might look into sales or sales engineering. I also toured them through the admin area, explaining the harsh world of customer credit.

Generally, Tufts delivered us a bunch of introverts, except for one guy who not only got my "walk this way" Young Frankenstein reference, but generously walked that way. I'm not sure whether we are bad tour guides or that the students haven't learned to look interested in grownups. Hopefully we'll get feedback soon.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Blades Over Boston

What do polluted soil, wind turbines, and high-end kitchens have in common? You can find them all at Forbes Park in nearby Chelsea. An early autumn evening found a group of Second Wind employees clambering over makeshift footbridges to view the construction on this eco-friendly, brownfield conversion loft project.

We got interested in it, naturally, because of the 240-foot-high, 600-kilowatt wind turbine that sits on the bank of the Chelsea Creek. If you're driving up Route 16 you can probably see it in the distance and may have wondered what was going on.

My colleague Julie Arnold arranged a tour for a group of Second Wind employees and some of our sidekicks mostly because she thought it would be cool to see, and she was right. So we piled into our Priuses and our Zipcars and swam through the rush-hour traffic to meet the project's developer, Blair Galinsky, for a tour.

Blair is an architect/developer whose firm recently completed the Davis Square Lofts near Second Wind's headquarters. He drove up in a Mini Cooper and explained that he would rather be driving in a Smart Car if a way could be devised to power the Smart Car using the turbine's energy.

For our out-of-town blog readers, Chelsea is one of those communities that has struggled with poverty, poorly managed industry, and even a couple of spectacular fires (1908 and 1973), but has been settled by artists and urban renewal types over the last couple of decades. Chelsea has a scenic waterfront, a bunch of working-class and poor neighbhorhoods, and now a Belgian-made wind turbine.

Forbes Lofts is named after the Forbes Lithograph Manufacturing Company, once one of Chelsea's largest companies and the industry mainly responsible for the area's designation as a brownfield. Blair picked up chunks of coagulated ink that had been deposited on the site during a 100-year peroid and explained that the ink had been dumped, indiscriminately mixed with ball bearings, pieces of broken equipment, and other byproducts of the printing process, until it hardened into unusable chunks of junk. The turbine sits atop the part of the site that was the most unusable.

The Forbes Lithograph factory is being converted into luxury lofts, and the turbine will power the lofts and sometimes sell power back to the grid. Our three most rugged employees had been offered the chance to climb up the ladders. Somehow I thought the ladders would be on the outside and I could climb up and see Boston the way you see Paris from the Eiffel Tower. But the ladders are mounted on the inside, and the lights weren't working, so ixnay on the climb. We all were given a chance go to inside. It's pretty much what you'd expect -- you are standing in a round enclosure, with no espresso bar, no bathrooms, no ticket window, just a concrete floor and the light coming in the door, and you look up into a dark tube that gets darker and skinnier as it goes up. There's a control box (which we didn't touch) and that's pretty much it.

After not climbing the turbine, Blair took us over to the luxury lofts. This was many people's favorite part of the tour simply because the landscaping and architecture were so beautiful and well thought out. They have converted a four-story concrete structure that used to host the printing company into sixty-eight luxury live/work lofts.

As we entered the building and were offered a beverage, Blair explained to us that an atrium had been created in the middle of the building so that there would be natural light on both sides of the lofts. Concrete was used extensively in the design, partly because it retains heat and aids in passive heating and cooling. Inside, the model unit loft was so cool that I can't describe it without sounding dorky. The architecture is open plan, and super chic. I caught more than one person drooling in the kitchen.

The developers seem to have thought of every possible idea to make the project environmentally sustainable and to contribute to the community. Blair talked about plans for a covered bridge that would cross a largely industrial landscape from the lofts to a local school, so that the students could visit the park's planned environmental exhibitions. He showed us a manmade salt marsh that is being developed by one of the two living people capable of doing that kind of work. He also showed us a lighting system: inside each loft a lightbulb glows blue when electricity is free (meaning the turbine is supplying all the building's needs at at particular time) and glows yellow or orange to signify periods of high or peak usage, when electricity would cost more. He discussed plans to light the turbine in similar colors so that people in the surrounding community could learn about peak electrical usage times as well, and time their activities to take advantage of non-peak usage times.

These are just a few of the building's green features . . . for more on the "smart design" of the Forbes Lofts visit

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Get on the PTC bus!

Once again it's a roller coaster ride to the end of the legislative session and the fate of the Production Tax Credits (AKA PTC). Wind has bi-partisan support; it's not a just Birkenstock and ponytail thing any more. So it should be a shoo-in, right? But then the PTC gets incorporated into some other, bigger bill that doesn't have bipartisan support (i.e. Energy Bill). Just when we thought the financial meltdown had completely absorbed Congress, a Friend of Renewables tucked the PTC into Son of Big Scary Bailout, which is basically the same as Big Scary Bailout 1 plus lipstick. So, if the voters of America are content that Congress (and now just the House, as the Senate has already passed it) felt their pain enough to vote the bailout down last week, but trust them to vote yes this week, we will have a Production Tax Credit and a robust renewables industry next year. If not, well, see you at CanWEA and BWEA next month!

Second Wind signed onto this coalition of renewable companies in favor of the PTC - don't know if it helps, but it's worth a try. The PTC may not be the best way to encourage development of wind plants, but it's the only one we have, compared to plenty of incentives for conventional energy sources.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Second Wind is Fabulous, Part Two

I am getting ready for my second day of work at Second Wind, a company I have worked for as a vendor for over 15 years. I am sharing an office with my boss, which serves me right because my employees used to share an office with me. Actually Susan is okay, although no one's going to believe I mean this because she'll be the first one reading this blog entry. In fact she has already accused me of an unspeakable employee practice (obsequious flattery).

My favorite Susan incident came a couple years ago when I was drastically late to a meeting, having been reached on my cell phone while at Chuck'e'Cheese. I walked into the conference room (avoiding the gazes of the five people who had been waiting for me) and helped myself to a hard candy. Susan's first words? "Bold move with the hard candy."

I am joining Second Wind as a marketing associate because, after 20 years as a self-employed graphic designer, I wanted to get more deeply involved with one company rather than, as it seemed, solving the same five or six problems for different companies.

I have loved wind power since before it was fashionable and one of my prized possessions is Paul Tsongas' 1980 book, "The Road From Here," inscribed by the author: "Thanks for all the youthful enthusiasm. Don't change!"

Second Wind seems to mesh with my "youthful enthusiasm." Although the company does not actually build wind farms, we support the industry by making it more efficient and, well, sustainable. Our equipment measures wind to determine the best places to locate wind farms and turbines, and, as Susan mentions below, our engineers provide technical advice about the siting of turbines and the appropriate tools to use for particular jobs. To the wind industry, we are like geologists who say "Drill here."

I enjoyed my first day, surrounded by a productive and congenial buzz of people working towards the same goals and by the jingling of Corvo's dog tags. Corvo is, as far as I know, the only non-human on our company payroll and is welcome throughout the office (although I think his fridge privileges are restricted). The office has an atmosphere of creativity, innovation, and respect and (in the absence of a snazzier "clincher" for this entry) I'm excited to be here!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Those pesky engineers!

In today's Boston Globe, the new turbine atop the roof of Boston City Hall was unveiled. The Menino administration selected a SkyStream 3.7 from Southwest Windpower. Whether the decision was based on Southwest Windpower's offer to donate the turbine, I do not know, but kudos to them for selecting a credible turbine.

I was amused to see that "engineers" (that's us!) were credited with deterring them for installing a utility-scale turbine. They listened! We're glad to take the rap, because to the average person, City Hall Plaza is wicked windy, the kind of place where you'd hope they could harness the wind because it's such a nuisance in every other way. To a wind engineer, it's a turbulent nightmare that you'd cringe at the idea of subjecting a turbine to.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Wind Energy is Fabulous...and so is Second Wind: Another Intern’s Tale

As I have yet to be the profiled employee in the Triton Newsletter, I suppose I will have to introduce myself to Second Wind’s online followers via the blog…

My name is Melissa, and I have been working as the Sales & Marketing intern at Second Wind since May. In September, I will enter my final year at BU as I pursue a degree in Business Administration with a concentration in Marketing and a minor in Advertising. (It’s a mouthful, I know!) In my free time, I love running, watching the Red Sox, going to the movies, and reading. Today marks the last day of my internship, and I would like to share some of the wonderful things I have been able to experience at Second Wind this summer.

When I started at Second Wind in May, the team was knee-deep in preparations for the 2008 AWEA show in Houston, TX. It was amazing to see how much needs to be done to orchestrate a successful trade show appearance (and made me have new admiration for event planners!) While the team was running around Texas, I began to collaborate with our designer, Naomi, to create Second Wind’s new website. It’s been an ongoing project, which is (hopefully!) near completion. I look forward to the day the beautiful new site goes “live” for the world to see!

Working with Second Wind has been invaluable experience for me—one that I know will be useful when I decide what I “want to do when I grow up”, as Susan would say. All I know for now is that when I “grow up”, I hope to be lucky enough to work with a group of people as fabulous as the Second Wind team.

After working for a few companies which are considerably less wonderful than Second Wind, I can truly appreciate the fun, but hardworking, culture which exists here. All I can say is that I hope my signature phrases (via Matt), dance moves (via Allison), sassy attitude (via Julie), and love for turkey sandwiches (via Corvo) remain even after I leave 366 Summer Street!

All the best,

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” –Margaret Mead

Monday, August 18, 2008

Sustainability? We're all about that!

Sustainability at Second Wind is more of a work in progress than an accomplishment. Some things we’ve done from the start, more from frugality than some green ethic. Sure, we get extra credit for being in windpower, but most of us extend those values from our work product to our daily activities.

Number one, our facilities have always been in existing buildings. Despite lots of PR about LEED certified this and that, it’s always more sustainable not to build. The average age of the buildings we’ve occupied over the years is about a hundred years old, starting with the fabled spare bedroom in Walter’s house (constructed 1850).

Number two, Second Wind is located in a densely populated area. Somerville is four square miles and has 77,000 residents. We are part of the Boston transit system, and buses and subway are right nearby. No one gets in their cars to get lunch at Second Wind – there are far too many choices within an easy walk in and around Davis Square. Less than half the employees drive to work every day – we have walkers, bikers, T-riders, with the mix depending on the weather. The MBTA offers a T-pass program where employees can get their monthly T-pass with pre-tax dollars, sort of like a transit 401K, and we have quite a few who participate. Our urban location means that even our deliveries are more efficient – the UPS truck’s stops are about 100 yards apart, rather than a long way down some scenic country road. Another fun benefit of being in the Boston metro area is Zipcar. It’s a car sharing service that Second Wind belongs to – employees can use a car for an hour or a day.

I believe our most significant contribution takes no daily effort at all – it’s just being where we are. However, we do have some active efforts as well. All cardboard is recycled, and we also recycle mixed paper. I can tell by looking at the dumpsters that cardboard is about half our total waste – so that’s significant. Those initiatives are courtesy of our landlord and have been in place since we moved to Summer Street. Thanks to the City of Somerville’s comprehensive curbside recycling program, we also recycle cans, bottles, and any plastic with a number on it. Compliance with this is mixed – some people won’t take the extra step, and others are overly enthusiastic and put used paper coffee cups in there.

Speaking of paper coffee cups, those come from outside, not from Second Wind. We have always had an eclectic collection of cups, plates and silverware to eliminate disposable use. There’s a homey cloth dishtowel in the kitchen (changed weekly, thank you very much). Those paper towels we do use are part recycled, as is our TP (from Staples). We're using their recycled content papers for everything, and different stuff for letterhead and marketing collateral.

Our biggest inefficiency is the HVAC system. As we’ve grown, there was no thought put into integrating the systems. Although we are stingy with the thermostat, the balance is not great. We’re looking into that now through our NStar energy audit. We did upgrade our fluorescent lights a few years ago to the more efficient type, and are almost completely switched to the LCD monitors rather than the piggish CRTs. We also applied for the program to get some of our energy from windpower (from the Horizon Maple Ridge project, I believe).

We’ve been participating in Go Green Davis, the Davis Square green business roundtable, to exchange ideas with other companies in the area. As I said, our sustainability is a work in progress rather than an accomplishment.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

I don't know much about art...

but this is clearly a masterpiece!

Triton against a field of wind turbines, by Joshua, aged 7 3/4. Here's Joshua visiting Second Wind central:

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Customer Hall of Shame

We love our customers, we really do! At Second Wind, working with our customers is generally one of the benefits of the job. But sometimes...our affection is sorely tried. Recently we received a Nomad 2 data logger back for repair and it was infested with a agitated colony of ants, ant parts, and extra gross maggoty pupae! The ants came in through the openings for cables at the bottom part of the Nomad 2 enclosure. We actually offer these neat cable grips (part #380) that would prevent the problem, but whatever - please don't send us bugs! We have bugs of our own, thank you, and don't need any more.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Green Porn...

and, no, we're not talking about the new Isabella Rosellini movie. This week in the Boston Globe in the business section there was a feature-ette on personal renewable energy devices. It touted something called a "HYmini" which captures wind energy while you walk, run, or bike. This, of course, is a completely silly product and has little or nothing to do with "going green". I was hoping Walter Sass would write this blog entry, but he was so disgusted that all he could scrawl was "This is green porn. I'm sorry, if you can't figure out that it's incredibly more efficient to hook a generator up to the drivetrain of a bicycle than is to put a little windmill on your handlebars, you shouldn't be writing little energy pieces for the Globe." Remember, kids, this energy isn't free - you have to pedal that much harder. As far as I know, the first law of thermodynamics is still in effect, although, as Walter said, "with this Supreme Court, you never know".

The discussion inevitably continued to the idea of harnessing the energy of children to provide energy for the home. There are many anecdotes about parents who only allowed the TV to operate when powered by energetically pedalling children. Go green, Mom and Dad!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

"Why not First Wind?"

Working for a company named for an idiomatic expression has its challenges. On many occasions, while representing Second Wind at an event with international attendees, I have been asked in halting English, "So why not First Wind?" The best was a man from the Phillipines, who thought over the "second wind" concept and told me that "We have a saying in my country that when the typhoon returns a second time, it is stronger".

So it was with bemusement that I greeted the press releases from our Boston-area neighbor, the former UPC Wind, that they were renaming themselves First Wind. Now Boston has become like one of those towns with a First Bank and a Second Bank, or a First Church and a Second Church (I don't even understand how a company could be named "Fifth Third Bank". Why not First Bank?).

When I heard the news, I pictured an aisle in a trade show with us lined up in a row: First Wind, Second Wind, and possibly Third Planet Windpower. Instead, the juxtaposition happened much sooner than I expected. Walter was invited to give a talk for a group of Chinese wind companies this week. This is a return visit from when the Governor and dignitaries visited China in December to discuss reciprocal trade in renewables. When I got the agenda for the meeting, sure enough the CEO of First Wind, Paul Gaynor, and Walter are speaking in the same session, First Wind followed by Second Wind! I hope Paul Gaynor enjoys the irony, because I know Walter will.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Second Wind has become a different kind of company...

A truck owning company! After nearly 28 years with no form of vehicle at all, we are now a company that owns two trucks.
Truck #1 resides in Somerville, and is a silver Toyota Tundra. That one was purchased by the Consumer Reports aficianados here at Second Wind world HQ. It has 4WD and a huge engine and is ready to haul Tritons anywhere on the East Coast. Our Triton service team here reports that the new truck is much more comfortable on long trips than the truck we were renting.

The first order of businesss was of course to remove the tailgate. It was surprisingly easy to remove and even replace.

Truck #2 resides in Texas, and is a white Ford F250. Truck #2 was specified by Ruben, our Western operative. It's got diesel, for (marginally) better gas mileage, and tons of power for handling challenging wind sites. Truck #2 made its first official road trip to Kansas last week, and its itinerary is already filling up for the month.

Now that we have a truck at our disposal, I keep thinking of truckly activities, like piling the whole company into the bed and heading for the beach.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Clever solution to a common problem

Just last night at an event my dining companion remarked that she had a drawer full of T shirts from places and events past. She's sentimentally connected to them but has more than she can ever wear. Vaughn Nelson sent me photos of some amazing quilts and banners made from old wind energy shirts. He is donating the one made from AWEA T-shirts to AWEA. The seven banners are being donated to the American Wind Power Center and Museum in Lubbock, Texas. Note that two "collector's item" Second Wind T-shirts are featured in the banners. I guess he's still wearing the newer generation shirt.
Cavalcade of AWEA shirts...
Two of the banners. Note the "I want my Second Wind" shirt from the 90s. That was actually the "straight" version. Some had this slogan, but the favorite slogan at Second Wind was "It's the environment, stupid", riffing off of the Clinton campaign motto.

Note the original Second Wind shirt from the 80s with the original (well, actually second) logo. Other than that, there's little overlap between our collection and his collection (unless he's still wearing our favorites). My all time favorite, now consigned to the rag bag: "Glow in the dark..." (picture of a cooling tower) "or live with the wind" (picture of turbine).

Thursday, May 15, 2008


When I opened my paper yesterday morning and saw this picture, my first words were "". The first impression was that wind energy is really mainstream now. It's not that long ago that only a Ralph Nader would seek a photo op at a wind facility - renewables were the province of those latte-loving, Volvo-driving, elitist tree-huggers. And look at us now! A self-described conservative Republican is not only recognizing that renewable energy can be an economic force, but even acknowledging that global warming exists. Whether this is lip service or not, the idea that McCain perceives acknowledging the warming of our planet to be an asset, not a liability is a milestone. And even more, that it might be OK to stand with the rest of the civilized world that agrees with that idea.

Jon Stewart definitely agreed with me, as he used the same exclamation to greet the same photo on the Daily Show last night.
The second thing, that is definitely not on Jon Stewart's radar screen, is that Vestas is moving in a big way for national household recognition. Vestas ran a full page ad in the Boston Globe about the time of the MMS public hearings on Cape Wind with a photo of a worker buffing a big, beautiful blade and the simple headline "WIND = JOBS". This is the same message I've been trying to convey in the Cape Wind discussion and does deserve a wider audience. This week's New Yorker magazine had another full page ad. More power to them, I say.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Anemometer Quality Control

Our new C3 anemometer is meticulously manufacured under controlled conditions by highly qualified personnel in our specialized facility.

Step 1 is to inspect the sensor for visible defects, as our technician Ira Buchholz demonstrates.

Step 2 is to give the sensor a test spin under carefully controlled lab conditions.

Sensors are spin tested at varying speeds before calibration in our new indoor facility.

Finally sensors are calibrated by having a two-year-old run up and down the hallway with them. Our product is so tough it's ruggedized for toddlers!

(Just for fun, people!)

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Second Wind featured in The Deal

Everybody knows that "cleantech" is hot hot hot for investment, and not least the wind energy sector. The Deal magazine, the "voice of the deal economy" targeting VC investors, recently ran a special report on wind energy spotlighting Second Wind and our investor Good Energies.

The articles are available online at the Tech Confidential website, and make an informative read. Each article has a cute name reflecting the wind theme: Catching A Breeze profiles the investors, and Winds of Change profiles five companies including Second Wind. Blowback ends the special report with a cautionary report on the Production Tax Credit expiration risk which is looming over the entire US industry. The PTC is something that's been on my mind a lot lately. I hope not to see a repeat of 2004, which was a grim one for Second Wind.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Wind turbines to affect Beijing Olympics, warns disturbing new report

This report was released at EWEC in Brussels today, and although I have not received permission, I thought it urgent enough to republish here in its entirety:

For more information please contact Professor Francis O. O'Leary

Wind turbines to affect Beijing Olympics, warns disturbing new report
Brussels, 1 April 2008

A report released today reveals alarming new evidence about the impact of wind turbines on the planet. With global installed wind energy capacity now having passed 100 GW, the apparently benign power souce could be at the root of a global scale disruption which will ultimately affect the performance of athletes at this year's Beijing Olympics.

With energy figures for 2007 showing another boom year for wind, the planet finally appeared to be waking up to the benefits of this clean and unlimited energy source. Now however, scientists from the prestigious Earth, Wind, and Fire Institute, based in Alabama, USA, are set to reveal the dark side of wind energy. In a new report, they argue that the rotational movement of the turbines is slowing down the earth's rotational cycle.

"It's an infinitesimally small change, and at present completely unnoticeable to humans," explains Professor Francis O. O'Leary, lead author of the report. "At the Institute, we have extremely sensitive equipment able to monitor fluctuations in the earth's rotational speed, and we can clearly see that in the last few years, it has been losing around 2.2 seconds per day."

The report, entitled "A wind up - the effect of wind turbines on the earth's rotational period", states that one of the unfortunate outcomes of the earth's deceleration is an increase in the gravitational pull to its surface. "We were first alerted to the fact that something was amiss by bird watchers. They were puzzled to see that birds were having difficulty taking off," explains Prof. O'Leary.

The higher gravitational pull is increasing the mass of objects on the earth. Although lighter creatures, such as birds and insects, are the first to feel the effects, scientists have calculated that so far a gram has gained just over 1% of its original mass - a man who should weigh 70 Kg now weighs 71 Kg.

The first humans to notice these changes will be athletes, who will be wondering why it is becoming harder to meet their personal best times and virtually impossible to break records. This "global slowdown" will be brought to the public attention at this year's Olympics, scheduled to take place in Beijing in August, when the world's best athletes will not only be struggling to beat their rivals, but also to overcome the increased gravity caused by wind turbines.

Initially, scientists thought that this increase in mass was due to the large quantity of chocolate eggs eaten at the recent Easter celebrations. However they now know that it is a global phenomenon and has been taking place over the last few years. It is set to increase dramatically in the future due to the number of wind turbines planned to be installed in the coming decades, to the point where all humans will notice the change and will find it harder to walk, jump, and even stand up.

Other repercussions of this increased mass extend from the trivial to the significant. Weight loss companies will start bracing themselves for court cases as angry slimmers realise their efforts are in vain. An skiers may find that hose downhill runs become a little more exhilarating.

To read the full report, please visit

Friday, March 7, 2008

5000 Nomad 2s around the world

We were startled to realize a few months ago that we were coming up on out 5000th Nomad 2 data logger. Naturally this called for a celebration. It was our good fortune that #5000 was sold to long time Second Wind customer Henry duPont of Lorax Energy. We had a custom Nomad cake and some champagne. Henry and his associate Deb Pasternak were on hand to accept their logger from Second Wind President Walter Sass and share some cake. Henry told us #5000 will be installed on a ranch in Texas in anticipation of a 50MW wind project. One of the things we enjoy about working with Lorax is that they do some cool projects. They do some innovative things with renewable energy and brownfields, as well as community wind projects. Thank you, Lorax and the owners of the other 4,999 Nomads 2s out there. I wonder when we'll hit 10,000?

Stand out for Cape Wind

On March 6th, some members of the Second Wind team made an appearance in Medford Square as part of a demonstration by Clean Power Now. The purpose of the event was to deliver over 8,000 signed postcards to Congressman Ed Markey at his Medford office. Markey is the chairman of the House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming, as well as being part of the Energy and Commerce committee. We had a postcard blitz in the office last fall as part of this project, contributing over 40 to the effort. It was a beautiful sunny morning as we stood around with our signs waving at passers-by. The mood was upbeat as Dunkin Donuts came around with free samples of their latest goodies. We were surprised, but pleased to be joined by Glen Berkowitz of BogWind. After about an hour of standing around, we trouped about a block to the Congressman's office. One of us got preferential treatment as an actual constituent of the Congressman, and got to enter his office, while the rest of us crowded outside. The Congressman's staff was kind enough to provide more Dunkin Donuts. Even though we work in wind energy every day, it's a rush to get out there and stand up for it every now and again.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Parade Magazine Features Wind Energy

Since I live in the cultural bubble that is Eastern Massachusetts, I rely on bulletins from the Real America to understand how America's opinions are formed. Parade Magazine has always been my window into the Real America, right down to its obsession with celebrities. This past weekend Parade had a whole feature on wind energy, with a spotlight on Massachusetts' own Cape Wind project. The author was none other than Second Wind Friend Wendy Williams, coauthor of the Cape Wind book. Congrats, Wendy, on this high-profile placement and on putting the Cape Wind issue squarely in front of the nation.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Triton in the Cranberrry Bog

Glen Berkowitz of Beaufort Wind is an early adopter of Triton and has become a Friend of Second Wind. He's using Triton to assess the potential for utility-scale wind in a Massachusetts cranberry bog. Like other agricultural wind projects, his offers the opportunity for an additional revenue stream for farmers. We think this is very cool and are also benefiting from a Massachusetts test site for Triton.

His project was recently featured in an article in South Coast Today, which covers the greater New Bedford area. There are more photos in this September article.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

WoWE ~ Inaugural Meeting, March 3rd

Women of Wind Energy ~ Women + Wind = WoWE!

The women at Second Wind Inc. are thrilled to announce the creation of a Boston Chapter of the Women of Wind Energy! With the number of women growing rapidly at Second Wind Inc, and in the wind industry worldwide, we felt it would be a great opportunity to connect with other successful women in the Boston area. The Women of Wind Energy (WoWE) is a nationwide organization with over 500 members since it’s launch in 2005. At the heart of the organization is a mission to “support and encourage the participation and advancement of professional women in the wind energy industry.” As a woman at Second Wind Inc, I am proud to help kick off the Boston Chapter and look forward to our future success!

The WoWE Boston inaugural meeting will be held at Sagra Ristorante on Monday March 3rd @ 630pm. The enthusiastic response from local women has been exciting and we look forward to a huge turnout. Please join us! We will also be holding a raffle to benefit the WoWE Scholarship Fund.

Sagra Ristorante is located on 400 Highland Avenue in Davis Square, Somerville. Sagra is a short walk from the Davis Square red line T stop.

Please RSVP to by February 25th to let us know if you will attend.

Hope to see you there!

Julie Arnold
Second Wind, Inc.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Sodar article in February North American Windpower

I must admit to being excited to see my name in print in this month's North American Windpower magazine. Editor Jennifer Delony invited us to write an article on sodar for this month's resource assessment issue, and although it was an educational experience, I was unreasonably thrilled to see the final result in the magazine. It's not online, or I'd link to it, but it is in the print edition, which is a free subscription. The cornerstone of my reputation as a world authority has been set!

Monday, January 14, 2008

Second Wind nixes Boston wind turbine

Back in October, we installed a Nomad data logger atop City Hall in Boston. Boston's Mayor Menino had publicly declared his intention to put a wind turbine in City Hall Plaza, pending research. For those who don't know City Hall Plaza, it's a vast concrete and brick expanse surrounded by city, state and federal office buildings. It's one of those urban renewal projects from the 60s where they tore down a struggling but busy neighborhood, Scollay Square (AKA "slum") and replaced it with a socialist-inspired sterile landscape. A wind turbine could only improve it. Now that Boston has one turbine (the highly visible Fuhrlander on the Southeast Expressway), a second one seems appealing.

Alas, the City Hall Plaza winds are typical squirrely city winds with lots of turbulence as the winds bounce off the buildings. Despite being a place where your coat gets blown open and your skirts end up around your ears, it's not windy enough for wind generation. But the results of the study were announced today in the Globe. There was to be a press conference where Ken Cohn was on hand to explain the study, but it was postponed because of the snowstorm.