Sunday, March 30, 2014

...and the crick didn't rise...

As promised in my last post, if we got to go on the tour of the wind farm there would be pictures. Here we go.

Now, I may not have mentioned why it was iffy whether we would go. Himself was having some medical issues that might have prevented it, and the weather might have limited what we would have been able to do. If it had been wet we might have only been shown a video. Now that would have been a let down. And on Friday when we traveled to Othello for the Sandhill Crane Festival of which the tour was an option we had signed up for --  and paid and had been looking forward to since last year when we were too late to get in -- IT WAS POURING DOWN RAIN.

That changed. And Himself was feeling quite well.

Now Himself thought he was going to get to climb up in the tower if he felt up to it and boy did he feel up to it.

Myself, I was afraid that we were going to get to climb up in the tower -- he had me convinced.

He was not disappointed that we could not.

Our Puget Sound Energy guide told us the story of the 100,000th visitor to the Wild Horse Wind Farm visitor center. By special arrangement, the company had decided that the 100,000th visitor would get to climb up in the tower (or take an elevator, or a helicopter view.)

The 99,999th visitor was an electricity fanatic, drove a Tesla up to the ridge from Seattle to charge, and was so excited about the whole project. They had to tell him he missed the special prize by one. (I don't know if he knew about the possibility in advance or was just really excited.)

The 100,000th visitor was afraid of heights, and chose a family dinner catered at the visitor center.

Remember the old-fashioned windmill? It is not the oldest version, of course. Windmills were in use in the 1400s--the ones we remember from childhood stories of Holland.

This type was introduced in the 1880s to pump water (and later did generate some electricity.)

This one is on display. They had it working, but after having to repair it three times they just left it broken. The wind on the ridge can be very fierce.

It was pretty fierce when we were up there, and a fraction of what it could be.

And remember I told you last week of the two experimental wind turbines in the Goodnoe Hills? This is a picture of them.

They were successful in generating electricity, but otherwise not so much, as they did not at the time have the infrastructure thought out to transmit the power. After the experiment they were dismantled.

The generators for Wild Horse are made by a company in Denmark which has had continued success with their wind energy generation. PSE decided, when they started construction of the Wild Horse Wind Farm above Vantage, that they would stick with proven technology for their generators. This is the only one they have had fail, and they use it for display.

The nacelles are the size of a bus.

And these are a sample of the transformers that are used.

The Wild Horse Wind Farm has 149 wind turbines.

It is called Wild Horse because of it's location, across the Columbia River from the Wild Horse Sculptures.

This is an example of one of the blades of the wind turbines. The members of our tour give you an idea of the size of those things.

This picture from 2008 taken below the Goodnoe Hills when the new Windfarm there was just being built also shows the size. Compare the blade with the truck pulling it and the trucks following. Don't be confused, though, as this is a totally separate windfarm from the Wild Horse and also totally separate from the earlier experiments, though the fact that there is enough wind there does relate them.

Here is another good comparison to show size. Those holes are for the bolts that hold the blades to the nosecone (Is that what they call it?)

There are ninety of them. 

This lightweight blade --it only weighs in at seven tons--

Well, this particular one was dropped--from a height of one foot--and damaged. So they have it as a display.

Imagine lining up and fastening ninety bolts

while this is hanging from a crane at around 200 feet in the air

on a windy ridge.

Here are a couple more images that will give a size comparison.
Our tour group gathered inside the bottom of one of the towers. There were nine of us altogether--with room to move around and examine everything and look

...where Himself...and fortunately Myself...were not going to climb. BTW, the ladder and the lights are held on by magnets.

The Wild Horse sculptures are on the ridge across the river.
Technology side by side.
I'm sure there is lots more that I have forgotten, but I hope you have enjoyed a peek into our tour of the Wild Horse Wind Farm.


imac said...

Interesting, I prefer this way than the Power Stations.

Julie said...

This was an interesting up close tour. I am always amazed by the site of them. We have an old windmill like the one you showed and refurbished the tower a couple years ago. It's not hooked up to the well, but could be with a little motor work. It's just a cool piece of history blowing in the wind.

This Is My Blog - fishing guy said...

That was an interesting tour of the wind farm. What a wonderful sight.

Liz Hinds said...

Oh my word! I am glad you didn't have to climb up there! I know lots of people object to them but i think they have a certain beauty.