After the four-hour drive to Reese, we started off with lunch and a presentation about wind farms and the construction process. We were then given hard hats, safety glasses, and a vest, then headed off to see a couple of turbines in the early stages of construction.
|View from the bus. I think this might actually |
be the one that we visited at the end of the tour.
|Top half of the tower|
|Nacelle resting beside the bottom half of the tower.|
The hub is somewhat visible between the two.
|The tour group|
|Bottom half of the tower, looking up|
|Me, standing next to the nacelle|
|The turbine blades|
|Base of a turbine blade|
|Looking along the turbine blades|
|One end of the top half of the tower|
|Looking up the stairs at the top half of the tower|
|Below the turbine, looking up|
|Circuits inside the turbine|
|Inside the turbine, looking up|
|Electrical box beside the turbine|
|A look inside the electrical box|
At this point, we headed off to see the relay station where the turbines sent their electricity.
|View of a half-finished turbine from the bus. If you look closely, you can see a constructed blade assembly at the foot of that turbine.|
|The relay station|
|Relays. Five of the bars along the top split about 120 megawatts, while the sixth connects to a capacitor.|
|A transformer, with a berm to contain oil leaks.|
|If you look up, you can see lines which are intended to prevent the station from |
being hit by lightning.
|Electricity heading off to the end-user|
When we got there, they called the control headquarters in Florida and had them shut down the turbine so we could see how that worked. Basically, the primary method for stopping a turbine involves rotating the blades so that they no longer catch the wind. So you can see this for yourself, I took two videos using my phone; the first one shows the turbine in action, while the second shows the turbine as it's stopping. You should be able to notice the difference in the orientation of the blades. Also, the turbine stopped fairly quickly after they sent the shutdown message.
All in all, it was a very fun and informative experience. The NextEra guys who led us around were very knowledgeable and were able to easily answer all of our questions. I definitely learned a lot about wind farms, as well as a bit about Reese, Michigan (for instance, the farmland there is naturally swampland, so the area needs a gridwork of pipes to carry away the water).