Sunday, November 29, 2009

Heartland

We traveled up the highway in the dark, leaving the city lights behind, as flat farmland unrolled around us in every direction. Aside from the occasional cluster of buildings whose pointed cone roofs rose above the faint forms of small homes, their lights glowing warmly within, there was much of nothing to see.

Then against the barren black, one red, flashing light in the distance became many.
And a broad, pulsing bank appeared, hundreds of acres across.
On the horizon, beat the heart of a sleeping giant.


By day, it looks quite different.
The tall turbines of Horizon Wind Energy stretch in lines, or arrays, towering up to 300 feet above the fields in northwestern Indiana. While beneath them, combines and trucks roll like the toys of a child--the season’s harvest, now, both wind and corn.



Operational since October 2009, Meadow Lake Wind Farm’s 121 wind turbines, whose rotors and blades each sweep an area 250 feet across, have the capacity to provide 60,000 homes with clean energy each year.

farm vehicles working beneath turbines (above)
close-up of area beneath turbines for scale (below)


Harvesting

Clean and white, their long arms slowly and silently sweep.
By night, their presence nothing more than a heartbeat.

wind turbines above farm fields
(click to enlarge)

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17 comments:

Mara said...

I wouldn't go so far as silently: whenever I am near them, they make a big racket! Wind driven, but still...
I do love wind turbines though, the area where I live is filled with them which is quite fitting as well: new country, new energy!

Rinkly Rimes said...

Turbines! A very up-to-date item for letter T

Nina said...

Mara, maybe these use a new technology, or perhaps their huge size makes the sweep more quiet--they really turn with little sound...you wouldn't know theye were there (at least on the day we visited them!)

Lisa at Greenbow said...

These things are amazing to see lined up in fields. We saw a collection of them when we went up North last weekend.

Roger Owen Green said...

Tricky. Definitely dangerous to birds and bats, but energy freedom.

photowannabe said...

You write amazing stories to explain your ABC letter T. Very fascinating.

moongipsies said...

very cool.. saw so many when I was traveling thru thr midwest this summer.

nina at Nature Remains. said...

Roger--yes, it's a tricky situation. Although the blades do not rotate nearly as fast as one might imagine, there's some info concerning their effect on birds (as well comparison in mortality rates caused by other human factors-- communication towers, buildings, automobiles and even cats!)
But, it's a good discussion to be having.
check it out:
http://www.motherearthnews.com/Renewable-Energy/Do-Wind-Turbines-Kill-Birds.aspx

Sistertex said...

Hi,
Really great post! This is a landscape that is all too familiar to me as we see the farms and the windfarms with their turbines all over southern Minnesota and on into Iowa.

Very nice.

Rose said...

I remember the first time I saw a group of wind turbines in Northern Illinois; they really are an amazing sight and so huge! Plans are in the works to erect several of them in our area, so soon they won't be such a novelty to us.

Jay said...

We have those around here, too, and (unlike some) I love them! They are graceful, and look beautiful against a blue sky. I think we do need to use clean, renewable energy sources, and the small problems of noise (I never hear any from them, but some do say they are noisy) and the visual impact and small prices to pay.

Some say they kill birds too, but I believe no more than power lines do. Or house windows. Or traffic. Anyway, I've never seen one with the ground below littered with bodies.

Ruth said...

There are wind turbines in areas along the shores of the Great Lakes, particularly Lake Huron. I agree that Toronto's skyscrapers are far more dangerous to birds than the wind turbines. I like them and think they are a good alternative to other power sources.

Hildred and Charles said...

No wind turbines in the Similkameen, and I have never seen one, but photos of them are quite beautiful.

A very fitting, though controversial T.

Tumblewords: said...

Terrific post! I think the turbines are a valuable part of clean energy and not unattractive. Timely.

Judi said...

Excellent post. I have seen these when traveling but not in my area of the country.

MAT kinase said...

It's incredible how big they really are. I've seen a few on the beds of 18-wheelers - where a single blade took up the entire bed.

Grace and Bradley said...

Saving the earth, hope we will see more of them in the future.