The largest wind turbine in Ohio and one of the largest in North America will soon spin high above Lincoln Electric’s headquarters in Euclid.
Made in Germany by turbine maker Kenersys Europe GmbH, the nearly 200,000-pound generator – the equivalent of about 36 Cadillac Escalade SUVs – will sit on top of a tower about one football field high.
Lincoln will fabricate the 14-foot diameter steel tower at its headquarters plant, using a giant robotic welding machine that Lincoln sells all over the world.
Lincoln ordered the monster turbine last fall in a show of support for the Great Lakes Energy Development Task Force’s campaign to persuade a turbine maker to build turbines here.
Michigan also is wooing Kenersys. The company is expected to announce its decision at the end of May, during the annual meeting of the American Wind Energy Association.
The big turbine and blades arrived in the Port of Cleveland over the weekend on a Cyprus freighter, the Limassol, after making the trip from the Baltic Sea, across the Atlantic and down the St. Lawrence Seaway. As longshoremen offloaded the enormous blades, county and city officials made it clear that the implications of Lincoln’s purchase are just as weighty as the turbine itself.
“This is an important symbolic moment and a substantive moment,” said County Executive Ed FitzGerald. “It shows we are serious about supporting this emerging industry. We want Greater Cleveland to be on the cutting edge of the renewable energy sector. And we want to do everything we can to promote the Port of Cleveland.”
The task force has been “aggressively pursuing Kenersys for more than 21/2 years,” said William Mason, chairman of the task force and county prosecutor. “We believe that Kenersys has the expertise and shares our vision for making this region a center for wind energy in North America.
“When we began over six years ago, erecting utility-sized wind turbines in Lake Erie or on-shore was a far-fetched idea for most,” Mason said, as huge cranes wrestled the gigantic blades gently to the ground in a driving rain.
Everything about the turbine, the tower and its foundation is outsized:
• The seven sections of tower that Lincoln will weld together will weigh 435,461 pounds and reach 266 feet into the air.
• The distance from the ground to the tip of the top blade will be 443 feet.
• Each of the turbine’s three 159-foot-long sculptured blades weighs more than 24,000 pounds.
• The reinforced concrete foundation that Lincoln has already poured required nearly 600 cubic yards of concrete and 65 tons of steel reinforcing bars, called rebar.
• The base, including the special soil used to backfill around the concrete, weighs about 2 million pounds.
• The total weight of the tower, turbine, hub and blades is about 800,000 pounds.
• Spinning at just 14 rotations per minute, the turbine is designed to generate 2-1/2 million watts (2.5 megawatts) at a wind speed of 27 miles per hour, enough power to cut $500,000 off Lincoln’s annual electric bill.
• The cost of the turbine and installation is about $5.9 million. Lincoln is paying $4.55 million from its own money. The company also borrowed about $350,000 from the county and received a $1 million federal stimulus grant.
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