April 13, 2009

Green Power

While visiting Saskatchewan we decided to take an early morning trip out to inspect the Wind Power Facility just south of the city of Swift Current. We'd seen wind turbines like these before but only from a distance and we'd never actually ventured close enough to see what they were all about. When we stepped out of our truck at the sleepy hour of 6:30am (I know what you're thinking but that IS early for a holiday) we were awed by the sheer size of these giants and amazed at the power of their blades. It was humbling to stand below this behemoth of a turbine and look up 30 stories to the slicing blades. Each pass of a blade prompting the instinct to duck and causing our hearts to race a little faster. And, while we found it terribly fascinating, Kimchi was not at all impressed. Kimchi showed an awesome respect for these giants, cowering in their shadow and fleeing from the sound of their blades as they sliced through the air like three very large razors.

I'll admit that we are ignorant of the efficiency of wind turbines and of wind power in general, but just knowing that science has moved us to a point where we can harness renewable resources, like wind, is reassuring. Undoubtedly there is still a long ways to go before our planet will be able to fully run on sustainable resources, if such a thing could ever be, but we are glad to see what we think to be steps in the right direction.

Interesting Facts:
  • When SaskPower initiated this wind power facility it was to be the largest site in all of Canada.
  • 83 wind turbines produce 150 megawatts (MW) of power or enough electricity to supply 64,000 homes.
  • Each of these wind turbines generates up to 1.8 MW of power.
  • At their highest point, each blade reaches 107 metres... that's about 30 stories above the ground.
  • Each generator's housing (nacelle) is the size of a city bus and weighs 70 tonnes.
  • Each turbine tower is 67 metres tall, and weighs 117 tonnes.
  • When generating power, blades spins at a speed on 17 revolutions per minute, causing the tips to spin at up to 256 km/hr.
  • Wind turbines operate within wind speeds of 15-90km/hr. They reach their full potential at wind speeds of 50 km/hr.
  • 2,500 truckloads of concrete were used in pouring the foundations for these towers.

-If you look closely you'll notice a little dot at the base of the tower. That dot is me.-

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