Monday, July 30, 2007


Making Baby Windmills

I've commented a few times on the relative lack of scenery in my corner of the Midwest. The terrain is basically flat, and just about every square inch of undeveloped land has been cultivated with corn or soybeans. You can spend many enjoyable minutes admiring them from the air, but they do tend to get old. One unique crop that we do have is wind turbines. There is a large wind farm east of town that makes for interesting viewing from the ground and the air. They are still installing several new turbines, and there are enough in various stages of construction to make for an interesting view of the process.

This appears to be the Windmill Maternity Ward, where components are staged prior to being transported to each turbine site.

There are a number of individual turbine blades lined up, as well as sections of the pylons and some turbine nacelles. Occasionally you will see a semi carrying such pieces through town on the way out to the farm and they are huge. The nacelles alone are about the size of a Winnebago.

Planting the seed. The foundation looks to be reinforced concrete. I'm not sure how deep it goes, but considering the wind loads on a 400 ft turbine, you've got to have some significant support below ground.

Putting the cap on. Those are bulldozers (and large ones) next to the foundation.

Gathering the pieces. We've got three sections of pylon, the turbine nacelle with its radiator, prop hub, and three blades.

It takes some pretty big cranes to put one of these up.

The prop gets assembled on the ground, then it's hoisted into place.

Delivery - a baby windmill takes it's place in the family.

And it's a big family - there are about 250 wind turbines planned for this facility. This is how it looks on the sectional. The turbines appear to be Vestas V82s


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