The Answers Are Blowing in the Wind…
Here are some words from intern Sophie, who asked me to post them here for her...
John Abrams (my father) is the founder and CEO of South Mountain Company, an employee-owned design/build firm on the island of Martha's Vineyard. South Mountain has a commitment to social and environmental responsibility. They do a lot of affordable housing work, renewable energy, and community work. John recently wrote the book The Company We Keep: Reinventing Small Business for People, Community, and Place , about his adventures in business, and when he’s not in the office you can find him traveling the country doing talks and workshops or hanging out at Island Co-housing where he lives with his wife, Chris. He has two children, Sophie (that's me!!) and Pinto, and three grandchildren, Kalib, Silas and Axel Leroy.
Here’s his recounting of the the raising of a wind turbine on Martha’s Vineyard.
Yesterday, we raised the ARE 442 wind turbine, which was donated to the Martha's Vineyard Regional High School by a wonderful woman who succumbed to cancer before she could see it turn (see plaque). Sophie bore witness to the raising. She knows that it really did happen, even though all known forces conspired to prevent it.
Finally, after waiting for eight months, and enduring delay after frustrating delay, this "next generation of small windpower," which I think it really is, arrived. This is the third ARE 442 to be manufactured, a beta stage product, to be certain. But our eggs are in this basket. We're believers.
So. . . this was the week, right? Robert Preus, the inventor and president of the company, arrives to find that Phil and Peter D (our company wind mavens) can’t figure out how to hook the turbine to the tower. It doesn’t fit!! “Oh, my guys must have sent the wrong mounting plate diagram to the tower company,” says Robert. The tower’s been lying at the High School for most of human history, with the wrong mounting plate, and now it’s D-Day. Needless to say, it was time to swing into action, which Phil and Robert did. A Falmouth machine shop furiously fabricated the part, bolts were delivered to Hyannis, and finally made it here (after being flown to Nantucket and getting stranded there when the airport closed due to bad weather).
Now erected, it will be 4-6 weeks before it actually runs, as the sophisticated controls need some re-engineering.
There’s a lot more to this story. I could write a book about it. There would be expletives, but there would be poetry too. I think the book will have a good ending. One thing I can tell you for certain: this is a thing of great beauty. Right Sophie?