3/21/2012

Mid Michigan Wind Farm near Ithaca

There is a wind farm in Mid-Michigan with over 130 gigantic wind turbines. It is located between Mount Pleasant and Alma adjacent highway 127 near Ithaca. The behemoths are over 400 feet tall from the ground to the tip of the highest point of the blade. Approaching the farm from the South, these huge windmills dwarf the forest below them. It is an awesome sight to see.

The wind farm crosses many properties in a wind valley that is a few miles wide and several miles long. The individual windmills appear to be placed haphazardly across the countryside--there are no evenly placed columns and rows of windmills.

The blades turn relatively slowly--faster than the second hand on a clock, but slow enough that the blades are never a blur. They are no more an eyesore than a telephone pole or a cell phone tower. Their appearance could be deemed to be artistic, majestic, and clean. They are so gigantic that time will be needed to assess their appearance above the treeline. The noise I could hear was as soft as a whisper, but was non-stop. Michigan communities that are considering the operation of wind farms should take a road trip to Mid-Michigan to actually see what they will be dealing with and make an informed decision to vote yay or nay.

Mike Venturini
Jonesville Michigan Bed and Breakfast Innkeeper
"Life is good in Jonesville"
Munro House Bed and Breakfast

10 comments:

  1. Awesome to drive through the area and see all those windmills!!

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  2. I hadn't driven US127 in several years and the windmills took me by surprise last weekend. Sunday must have been windy at that height. The blades were moving faster than I would have thought. I was also surprised by the height. They're huge. I'm wondering how long it takes for one of those suckers to pay for itself. They can't be cheap.

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  3. I was also surprised by the size of the wind farm when I drove north on US 27 yesterday. I could not believe how many wind turbines were up and running and I was also awed by their size. I remember seeing another group of 15 to 20 wind turbines near McBain during a trip last year so I was somewhat prepared but still I have to say that it is a fascinating sight. I think I could sit and watch them all day long. Their silent and gracefull movement has a soothing effect that makes you forget everything else.

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  4. I work in that area from time to time and was also awe sruck by the size, slow turnig of the rotoe and low but constant swooshing noise they make if you are standing close to them. Curiosity got the best of me one day on the way home and I pulled on to one of those gravel service road that goes way back to the oddly places wind turbine. At the same time, one of the iron workers who was constructing one of them was coming from the job site. I asked if I could ask a few questions about them as I was not able to find some answers to my questions here on the Internet.

    Here is what I learned, There are now over 100 in that area. their crew can erect 3 of them per day. they cost is over a million dollars each. Each unit has it's own controll unit in the base of it to send data to a central monitoring facility so decissions can be made and implemented for demand or maintenance. Each unit is 3.5 Maga Watts and several units are connected to an underground collection line which feeds to a local sub-station. Blades will turn with only a 4 mile per hour wind. The top only swings about 350 degrees and the blades are veriable pitch to optamize rotor speed. To take them off line they are just turned out of the wind and the rotor chn be slowed and locked down with a gigantic break shoe. They are so big the gear box and alternator that are housed in the top unit are bigger than a 4x4 truck. A man can actually go into that space to maintain the equipment. It is certainly nice to get power without the smoke or gasses but I'm still undecided on how they change the look of the landscape.

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    1. I think they are great. As to cost, they are inexpensive when compared to the 100's of millions a new coal fired plant is let alone a nuclear plant. As to looks, no different than all the cell and transmission towers all over the place. And they look better than a smokestack/ power plant complex in my opinion. I think the opponents are the coal industry, railroads and nimbys who don't want their view spoiled. I have worked at a power plant and the railroad and love those industries too. These turbines are all over the place in Europe where they have proven themselves reliable and it seems the public doesn't mind how they look. I think they are a good thing to add capacity to our electric grid in addition to the traditional means.

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  5. We drove the "back roads" to Saginaw from Grand Rapids and came across this wind farm by accident. I can't understand why Michigan voters voted these down?

    Oh yeah, outside money influenced that election, I forgot.

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  6. i loved seeing the wind farm. i've been telling my husband for about 15 yrs that that is the way to go.

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  7. I am trying to find out how long each blade is and how much each blade weighs. We have seen the blades being trucked there and wondered about them

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  8. want2sail50
    I have been hearing that these wind farms are killing our birds by the hundreds including the bald eagle and the owl? Has anyone else heard that?

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    1. There are many man-made structures that kill birds. According to http://www.howstuffworks.com/environmental/green-science/wind-turbine-kill-birds.htm it is happening, but nowhere near the rate of other unnatural causes of bird death.

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Mr. Mike