Monday, October 20, 2008

As seen in Kansas: The answer, my friend...

It was an impressive site, even from 10 miles away.

The crystal clear sky and the straight and horizontal nature of I-70 west of Salina made the turbines of the Smokey Hills Wind Project visible long before we were actually along side it.

I'd been hearing about the wind farm project for months, and we had been as far west a Salina a couple of times but never drove the extra 20 miles to see it for ourselves.

So we took advantage of some free time while visiting the in-laws this past weekend to do just that.

The approach to the giant, electricity producing windmills is impressive. Whizzing past at 75 miles per hour on I-70, it's impossible for the first-time spectator not to be impressed. The turbines are truly on a monumental scale.

It's difficult to appreciate the size of these wind turbines.
For a sense of scale, note the conventional Kansas windmill
next to the trees in the foreground.

The farm, developed by TradeWind Energy of Lenexa, began producing 100.8 megawatts of electricity early this year when construction on the 56 turbines in Phase 1 was completed.

By the end of 2008, project planners say Phase II will be online, bringing the total to 155 wind turbines generating 250 megawatts of electricity -- enough to power a city of 45,000.

According to TradeWind Energy, the project will offset 450,000 tons of carbon dioxide per year.

One of the most dramatic (of many) views of the turbines was as we were traveling back east toward Salina. To get an idea of the monumental size of these power producers, the turbines above are about a mile north of the highway (and the SUV pictured in the lower left).

It's good to see Kansas playing in the home-grown energy game, beyond creating coal-fired nuclear power plants.

As a life-long Kansas, I can attest to the constant availability of wind power. Harnessing it seems like a no-brainer. It seems clear that wind power should be a part of the domestic energy mix that the US desperately needs to develop.

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  1. Ive been to the spot in Califorina where they have hundreds of those fuckers, seems like it was in the Mojave, but I have trouble remembering that far back. Anyway, I sat out in the middle of them and there was a hella breeze and this really loud woooshing sound. Thats all I got.

  2. I agree with you on this you funky munky. Home grown energy is the key, and fortunately we have the ability to do this. Wind farms are awesome. Family and I are going camping this weekend and will be driving past that way.

  3. I passed a huge wind farm somewhere in Illinois, you can see it on my video in the background. I guess they now resolved their bird interference concerns by making these things spin real slow.

  4. I saw several large trucks carrying parts of these things while driving through Kansas not so long ago. I remember wondering what the hell the things where as I passed by the trucks. When I finally figured it out, my jaw wasn't off the floor for the rest of the drive. No picture does them justice in terms of size...


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