December 7, 2011

St. Olaf Wind Turbine

While gathering information about the wind turbine at St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota, one finds a detailed record of the first 3 years of its operation.

The turbine became operational on Sept. 19, 2006. Over the 1st 3 years, its average production was 22.9% of capacity (not a little short of the 41.5% projected). The calculated electricity savings over the 1st 3 years was $210,132.72.

The cost of the project was reported to have been $2.5 million, and the maintenance contract costs $36,000/yr.

Therefore, it would take 73.5 years to recover those costs.

Since industrial wind turbines are supposed to last 20 years and in practice last a much shorter time, someone is paying a lot of money for only a very big and noisy symbol.

vestas 1.65-MW
350' total height
total wt: 220 tons
base: reinforced concrete, 52' diam., 7.5' thick at center, >2 million lbs.
tower: 220', 116 tons
nacelle: 57 tons
rotor and blades: 47 tons
blades: each 130', 8.3 tons
rotor speed: 14.3 rpm
wind speed blades start turning: 7.8 mph
wind speed for max capacity: 29 mph
shut-down wind speed: 44.7 mph for 10 min, 53.7 mph for 1 min, or 71.6 mph for 1 s

wind power, wind energy, wind turbines, environment, environmentalism