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Saturday, January 26, 2013

Learn the Benefits of Wind Turbine Technology (Adirondack Region, NY)!!

Wind Power on Tug Hill - Maple Ridge Wind Farm

Located in Lewis County primarily on the Tug Hill Plateau, the Maple Ridge Wind Farm harnesses the wind power. The constant lake-effect winds and the wide open farmland of Lewis County make the Tug Hill region an ideal place for New York’s largest wind energy farm.

Tug Hill is an ideal location for a wind energy project. This site consists of approximately 12,000 acres of hilltop pasture and feed-crop land at an average elevation of 1600-1800 feet. Tug Hill is an ancient geologic formation that lies just downwind of the eastern shore of Lake Ontario, separated from the Adirondacks to the east by the Black River Valley. At a maximum elevation of 2000 feet above sea level, the Tug Hill plateau experiences strong lake-effect weather patterns and has long been known for its exceptional wind resource.

Along with the economic benefits to the Wind Towers still allow for the area to maintain all premier outdoor recreation activities such as skiing, snowmobiling, hunting, fishing, ATV and horseback riding, while at the same time, keeping the strong agricultural land base and heritage.

While Maple Ridge Wind Farm involves 21,000 acres, the Wind Towers themselves use less than one percent of the total acreage. The entire project covers an approximately 12 by 3 mile stretch through the Towns of Martinsburg, Lowville and Harrisburg.

Many of the Wind Towers placed on family farms provide an alternative commodity for Lewis County beyond milk, which is currently the largest agricultural commodity produced in the county, followed by maple syrup and wood pulp.

The 195 Wind Towers in operation, make Maple Ridge Wind Farm the largest wind tower project east of the Mississippi River.

A Wind Tower, sometimes called a Wind Turbine, is made up of a tower, the nacelle (the machine housed atop the tower), and the rotor. The weight of the nacelle and the rotor is 75 tons. It cost approximately 2.8 million to build one Wind Tower. Each Wind Tower is 260 feet tall, with a rotor blade length of 130 feet. The total height is 390 feet for each Tower. The span across is approximately 260 feet. Each blade weighs 7 metric tons and is made from a wood interior coated with fiberglass. The rotor blade speed is 14 RPM (revolutions per minute) which translates to 1200 RPM’s at the generator. The blade will produce electricity when the wind is blowing at about 8-10 miles per hour and will shut down when the wind is higher then 42 miles per hour.

As you drive by the Wind Farm you will see that some Wind Towers are not turning. This is because at any one time 10 Towers are under daily scheduled maintenance.

Economic Benefits
Each Wind Tower produces enough power for 560 homes. Maple Ridge Wind Farm should produce enough power, on average, for 125,000 homes or to put it in North Country terms, enough electricity to completely supply all of the electrical energy needs for Lewis, Jefferson and St. Lawrence Counties, including all the industries, schools and hospitals in the three-county area. This is clean, renewable energy and will save on the emission of carbon dioxide, nitrogen oxide (smog) and sulfur dioxide (acid rain).

The American Wind Energy Association estimates that 1 MW of wind generation capacity is the equivalent of 1 square mile of new forest, in terms of offsetting or displacing carbon dioxide from conventional generating sources. The Maple Ridge Wind Farm should produce 321 MW which is equivalent to 205,440 acres of new forest or equal to 3.4% of Adirondack Park. Where does all this power go? The Maple Ridge Wind Farm power goes into the New York State energy grid through a substation located near Rector Road in the Town of Martinsburg. It is then piped through a 230kV line to a substation on the Wetmore Road in Glenfield 10.3 miles away. This line is attached to the main 230kV National Grid bulk transmission line that extends across NYS to the East Coast, from Boston to New York City and all cities and towns in between.

The Maple Ridge Wind Farm can provide 2% of NYS’s residential power needs.

Turbine Informaiton

Modern wind turbine generators are robust, sophisticated high-tech machines designed to convert the power of the wind into electricity.

Main Components: The tower, the nacelle (machine house atop the tower), and the rotor

Height of Flat Rock Wind Turbine Towers: 260 feet

Rotor Blade Length: 130 feet

Rotor Blade Speed: 14 RPM (revolutions per minute)

How Electricity Leaves the Turbine and Brings Us Power: Electricity from each 1.65 MW wind turbine generator is fed through numerous 34.5-kilovolt power underground cables that come together at the wind farm substation near Rector Road. These cables channel the electricity via a step-up transformer and dedicated ten-mile power line into the New York electricity grid at the 230-kilovolt Niagara Mohawk Adirondack line, feeding power to towns and cities across New York's North Country and beyond. Sophisticated computer control systems run constantly to ensure that the machines are operating efficiently and safely.

Pollution Offset: The American Wind Energy Association estimates that 1 MW of wind generation capacity is the equivalent of 1 square mile of new forest, in terms of offsetting or displacing carbon dioxide from conventional generating sources.

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