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Raising a Wind Turbine

turbinesunset.jpgSt. Olaf College, a small private university in Minnesota, recently decided to add a 1.65 megawatt wind turbine to the campus power grid. Minnesota is well-positioned to play a major role in the wind energy economy, and St. Olaf leapt at the chance to get a bit of energy independence. Moreover, the turbine will let St. Olaf College play an important role in local emergency response:

Because we can go off the grid during peak periods, Xcel Energy (our new electricity provider) avoids building additional power plants. Because we can generate our own electricity at any time, St. Olaf has also become the most significant civil defense site in Rice County . And we are the standby site for Northfield Hospital in the event of a catastrophic event that compromises its power supply or its capacity.

The turbine should start generating power in the next couple of weeks, as the final wiring is completed. A blog has followed the construction of the tower, and has now assembled a short time-lapse movie of the process. If you've ever wondered how a major wind turbine is built -- or just want a sneak preview of what the world of energy will look like in the very near future -- this video clip is worth a download.

(Thanks for the tip, Anya!)


My friends Werner and Julie of Videosphere have been documenting the development of wind power in Hull, MA. They have a series of short videos on the building and dedication of the newest turbine, Hull 2:







You can see the range of solar and wind on the Boston Harbor Islands in this video which we all did together:



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