Thursday, June 13, 2013

Reaching the summit for wind energy!

Hello Everyone!

This week I had the amazing opportunity to climb the Traverse City Light & Power Wind Turbine!
Follow the journey together with the amazing Jessica Wheaton, Marketing & Community Relations Coordinator for TCLP as we climb to the summit! Unfortunately it was really foggy outside the last few days, so I wasn't able to see the bay, but still an amazing view nonetheless.   

View from the top

  • Traverse City Light & Power 600 KW Wind Turbine
  • Installed in June 1996 at a cost of $650,000
  • Blades and Nacelle were made in Denmark and the Tower was made in Texas
  • Rotor/blade weight is 19,000 lbs
  • Nacelle (compartment at the top with all the engine parts) weighs 381,000 lbs

At the time of installation, the turbine was the largest in the US and also the first utility grade turbine installed in Michigan! (yay for TC)

Control Panel

Jessica Wheaton - TCLP

This bad lad generates enough electricity to power 110 homes annually. Back in the day, TCLP used a "Green Rate" to pay for the installation of turbine which made it the first utility company to offer a Green Rate, which is now available through hundreds of other utility companies worldwide.

The blades are an amazing 144 ft wide and from Tower to Hub, that little box thingy on the top is 160 ft. The blades start at 10 mph and provide full power of electricity at 32 mph. If the blades exceed 55 mph, they will power down for safety reasons.


The base of the wind turbine is an incredible 40 foot wide, 3.5 feet thick and over 180 yards of concrete were used. They also added in 7 tons of reinforcing steel just in case... In 2008, Michigan legislature passed a law requiring all electric utilities to have a least 10% of their generation from a renewable source (wind, solar, landfill gas, biomass) by 2015. TCLP nailed this mandate in 2011, four years before it was required.

TCLP has now started buying energy from five 2-megawatt wind turbines located near McBain. These turbines dwarf the one that I climbed, coming in at a towering 328 feet with blades 303 feet in diameter, sweeping a total of 72, 334 sq feet. These five wind turbines generate enough electricity to power 4,404 homes annually!
Me climbing the tower!
Ladder to the Nacelle

Statistical data provided by Traverse City Light & Power

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