Don Walukas said he has been noticing something peculiar about the windmills around his Meyersdale home.
“I kept looking at them the last couple weeks,” he said. “They haven’t been spinning.”
As energy company officials continue to eye Somerset County hillsides for potential tower sites, Walukas said, he wants some explanation for the ones standing still.
“With all of the hubbub about getting them up and running I thought somebody should be looking into it,” he said.
The windmills Walukas said he sees standing idle are towers south of Meyersdale and ones near Garrett.
Some of the towers Walukas is noticing are part of the 23-turbine Casselman Wind Project in Summit, Black and Addison townships.
When turning, those towers are to produce 34.5 megawatts of power – about enough to power 10,000 homes.
But no power is generated from a tower with idle blades.
Paul Copleman said a lack of wind or routine maintenance may be likely reasons for motionless turbines. Copleman is a communications manager for Oregon-based Iberdrola Renewables, which owns and operates the Casselman site.
“Most of the time when people see turbines not spinning it is because of wind in that location,” said Copleman from his office in Radnor. “Wind can be different from one turbine to the next.”
Towers that stand inactive over a period of time may beg a questioning of their feasibility.
Copleman said turbines tend to produce power with wind speeds between 6 and 10 mph – with the optimum speed between 15 and 25 mph.
“The earliest parts of developing a wind farm is studying the wind with meteorological towers for at least a year,” he said.
Wind speed, temperature and direction were among factors of the Casselman site Copleman said were studied.
“They (windmills) are extremely reliable across the industry,” he said. “We expect them to be ready to catch the wind provided well over 95 percent of the time.”
By Rick Kazmer
Daily American Staff Writer
14 June 2008
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