BOWLING GREEN – The three, 132-feet-long fiberglass blades slice through the muggy air, their tips whizzing around and around at 172 mph.
A southerly breeze is moving the blades of the gigantic wind turbine. Like a mechanical sunflower, it automatically turns to face the wind.
It stands 25 stories high, weighs more than 158 tons and sits on a steel and concrete foundation burrowed 33 feet into the earth.
Yet, it looks lithe and sleek.
The four turbines are such an oddity that they draw tourists and school children by the busload to the wind farm, which is next to a landfill. A solar powered kiosk with a touch screen offers data on the project, wind speed and real time power generation.
“We sort of turned the Wood County landfill into a tourist attraction,” said Kent Carson of AMP-Ohio, which operates the $10 million wind farm on behalf of Bowling Green and nine other cities.
Bowling Green assistant utilities director Paul Brock spouts stats off the top of his head: A 6-mph wind will start turning the blades, and the turbine begins generating electricity at 9 mph. Optimal electrical generation is reached at about 33 mph.
Gov. Ted Strickland last week revealed his energy plan, which sets a goal for 25 percent of the electricity sold in Ohio to come from alternative energies by 2025. It’s an ambitious goal. The four turbines in Wood County – Ohio’s only commercial wind farm – can generate up to 7.2 megawatts of electricity. That’s a tiny drop compared to the 35,000-megawatt generation capacity in Ohio. One megawatt is enough to power 300 homes.
In hopes of jump-starting more wind projects, the administration announced a $3 million grant for a project in Logan and Champaign counties and $2 million for more turbines at the AMP-Ohio site. Those two projects are expected to generate up to 149.5 megawatts of power.
By Laura A. Bischoff
3 September 2007
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