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A visit to Michigan's first Large scale Wind Farm (graphic heavy)

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greenman3610 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-18-07 06:49 AM
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A visit to Michigan's first Large scale Wind Farm (graphic heavy)
A few weeks ago, several of us went to a public tour of Michigan's first
large scale wind farm, in Pigeon, a small farming community in Michigan's windy,
flat Thumb region-an area of small, rural, and fairly conservative ag-based

The Harvest wind farm is located very close to Laker High School, which has its own wind program, a combination power production and tech study program, using refurbished 65 kw wind generators, first generation machines purchased from California. These were up and running near the school, and spinning impressively. Imagine the sound of a washing machine on top of a 120 foot(?) mast. Sound from the near by road pretty much drowned out the noise from the machines.
Inside the school, a computer screen in the main hallway shows real time readouts of wind speed, direction, and power generated.
Maybe a 100 or more activists, business people, regulatory types, and interested
farmers and landowners were in the group. We listened to a presentation at the
high school, had time to look over the schools turbines, and then loaded into a
biofuel powered school bus for a short trip to the new commercial turbines looming in the fields not far away.
I sat next to a representative from Sen. Carl Levin's Lansing office.

The important thing to emphasize is scale. The new generators are 1.6 megawatts in capacity, and with the blades in place, stand almost 500 feet tall. The blades are something like 300 feet across.
They are, to me, graceful and aerodynamic. More like Brancusi sculptures than
industrial machines.

We got a lecture from an employee of John Deere, the Ag equipment company that
is behind this project. Apparently they are getting into wind in a big way - which is heartening. He was a salt of the earth type guy, and totally in to what he was doing.
(note the size of the step ladder on the blade behind him)

The farmers in this area are being compensated with a yearly lease payment,
he wouldnt give us the exact amount. Their fields were going to be completely
put back the way they were before construction, decompacted, etc - with a small
access drive to the base of each wind turbine.
There are a total of 32 turbines, some 50 mw in capacity - spreading over a
5 mile irregular area.

When these turbines go live in December, they will, he said, make no more than a gentle whooshing sound - much less than the older ones we had heard earlier.

I recommend to anyone, if you get the chance, to visit one of these
sites near you. Its a paradigm shifting experience.
The overwhelming feeling you come away with is that this stuff is very real, very
high technology. When the other small towns and landowners in the area
get a look at these things up and running, I predict there will be a demand for
every town to have their own wind farm.
Already, I have read that some of the more urban communities near Detroit are
allocating money to study the feasibility of their own giant turbine(s). Projections for
wind power growth are bright, but it may be that actual growth will
outstrip even the most optimistic predictions.

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Demeter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-18-07 07:26 AM
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1. Thanks for the Post! Very Interesting!
Nice Rainbow, too!
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SharonRB Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Sep-18-07 02:22 PM
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2. Very cool!
I love the rainbow shot. Perfect timing to be there.

I'd love to have one of these in my backyard.
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maddogesq Donating Member (915 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-24-07 10:30 PM
Response to Reply #2
4. "Somewhere, over the rainbow, way up high...
Edited on Mon Sep-24-07 10:31 PM by maddogesq
There's a land that I heard of, once in a lullaby..."

Sorry, couldn't resist the lyric insertion. The song could not be more fitting for that scene.
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DJ MEW Donating Member (432 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-24-07 10:09 PM
Response to Original message
3. Very cool.
They just finised building one small, very small, wind turbine on the Engineering Campus of WMU.
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