Mar 1, 2006

Harnessing The Wind

photos by historymike

(Bowling Green, OH) On a recent trip to Bowling Green, I decided to take some photos of the wind turbines that the city's municipal electric utility has been installing over the past few years.

The gas station employee who I asked for directions seemed both clueless and disinterested in wind power.

"I don't know anything about wind power," she said, ringing up my Diet Coke. "Maybe somebody at the college knows."

As luck would have it, another customer knew all about the wind farm, and told me to drive on US-6 and I "wouldn't miss 'em."

The turbine hub soars about 270 feet off the ground, and the blades cut a circle with a radius of about 130 feet. I parked my car near the cornfield in which they stand and walked up to the turbines.

I am not sure what I expected, but the turbines are almost noise free; you can hear a faint "whup whup whup" if you listen closely. Placing your ear against the tower is the only way the machines seem loud. In addition, the blades turn more slowly than I imagined.

The wind farm's four turbines produce between 7 and 8 megawatts of electricity a year, and could power a village of up to 1,600 homes.

With all of the money that the city of Toledo wastes, one would think that it would make sense to invest in a project that actually pays dividends. Will anyone in the city or county government step up and be a leader in alternative energy initiatives that will not only reduce our dependence on foreign oil but also help reduce our fleecing by First Energy?

This is a reprint of an unpublished piece I wrote in November. I got into a discussion about windmills with someone yesterday and promised to re-post this.