Saturday, July 17, 2010

Wind Energy and an Oil Boom

For lack of a better word, we are 'fascinated' by wind energy. As we travel we see large wind farms in many states. Wind generators are going up all over the country. Every day more electricity is coming to us from the wind. Modern technology is producing wind generators capable of producing more and more energy. Many of the generators top out at between 300 to 400 feet above the ground. The towers go up 300 feet. The fiberglass blades are over 100 feet long. The generator on top of the tower is large enough for men to walk around inside. The largest generators can now produce up to 2.5 mega watts of power - one mega watt can power between 200 to 300 houses.
Of course Brian is always on the lookout for the trucks carrying the various componenets of the wind generators. We see them on the highways all over the country. Special trucks are needed. Some blades are over 100 feet long and require their own trailers. Each 100 foot section of the tower requires its own special trailer. Be aware that a normal big rig semi you might see out on the highway would have a total length of about 65 feet. The wind generatior parts are on a trailer that is about 120 feet long and then maybe another 20 feet for the tractor. The hub the blades attach to requires a special truck. The generator itself requires a special truck. All totaled it can take 17 special trucks to transport one wind generator to the wind farm  where it will be put together on a concrete base that takes over 45 mixer truck loads of concrete.
The whole wind energy industry is moving forward by leaps and bounds. We hope this industry lives up to its promise of providing economic efficient electricity to all of the US. If you want to know more about this, here are some links  National map of wind farms   Trucks that haul wind generators with details and amazing pictures  Wind generator manufacturer  Video on building generator
Our travels recently took us to Williston, North Dakota where we we learned there is an oil boom going on. We were amazed when we were told that this is the largest oil field discovery in US history and there could be as much as twice the oil as in Alaska. Wells are being drilled everywhere and oil drilling equipment can be seen everywhere as well. Oil derricks are pumping and filling huge tanks with crude. Ranches and farmlands are now oil fields and it is said that every day there is another millionaire in ND (over 120 new millionaires in 2008 alone). Google Williston-Bakken-Oil North Dakota to learn more. 

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