[R40R, Berkshire East Ski Area] in Charlemont, Mass., in the Berkshire Mountains, is producing all of its electric needs from a 900kWh PowerWind56 wind turbine.

It is the first ski area in the nation to make all of its own power from renewable sources.

State and federal grants made the project possible. A $440,000 grant from the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center paid for a feasibility study, some design work, and construction.

Sustainable Energy Development of Ontario, N.Y., was hired as the overall project manager.

SED chose a PowerWind56 German-made turbine as most suitable for Berkshire East's needs.

Resort General Manager Jon Schaefer said, "We hope to be the perfect model of how the WindPower56 will satisfy the needs of community wind projects across the nation."

The project will serve as a teaching tool at a local elementary school, where an educational station will monitor the turbine's performance. Berkshire East also will donate renewable energy credits to the school to offset its energy purchases.

Stats: The turbine will generate about 2.2 million kWh of electricity each year; the turbine is 277 from ground level to top of the blades; each of the three blades is 91 feet long; the tower is 195 feet high; the blades spin at a maximum speed of 27 rpm; the wind turbine project cost about $3 million.

More information. Or call 413-339-6617.

Check out this very short video of the Berkshire East wind turbine.