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Rippey Wind Farm Visit, by Mary Weaver, 2012

Mary Weaver's account of visiting the various sites of the Rippey Wind Farm, July 4, 2012

Rippey Wind Farm Visit
 Submitted by Mary Weaver on July 4.

Several visitors from the greater Rippey Community have been taking a drive north of town to view building of the Rippey Wind Farm. Individuals and their families are being drawn to the area as they can see the sky line changing from up to 12 milesfrom the site.  8 towers have their blades at this writing, with all the blades now here from Arkansas. They have come by escort truck from Arkansas.

The following are “cliff notes” for local persons to use when explaining the windturbines to friends or relatives who wish to visit.The information comes from RPM site coordinator, Jim Dimond.

The correct terminology is “wind turbine generator” not wind mill, and the tower and extended blade is 492 feet from the ground. The tower that holds the blades is actually composed of 5 different sections. One blade weighs 10.8 tons. The tower is held in position by 730.6 yards of concrete.
            
The “building” on top is called the nacelle, or the dog house. It is about the size of one of the public transportation buses seen driving around Greene County.  The nacelle contains the generator, the brakes and the yaw.  It is in place to convert the wind (kinetic energy) into electricity.

The blades, not propellers nor angel wings, are 164 feet in length.  The three blades are secured at the hub, and then lifted into place. The blades and the nacelle sometimes are erected at night when the wind is not as strong.It is not unusual to see a tower well lit with spotlights until the wee hours of the morning, even 4:00 AM! The span of the blades is almost 2 acres.

Once fully completed and installed, the wind turbine will begin to generate electricity at a mere breeze of 6.71 MPH, but will shut down if the winds reach higher than 56 MPH. Final wind speed fact, the tip speed of the blade iwill travel at 172.2 MPH.

During a recent visit to the site the writer traveled with two friends, and we found land owner, Laverne Erickson on his “daily inspection”. He, like many others in the community, is excited to see the landscape “begin to bloom with these regal towers”.  He chuckles as he interacts with the construction site manager saying that they couldn’t have been placed without his supervision.

Another highlight of our ride to observe the erection of the turbines, were the entrepreneurial efforts of some neighborhood children who have made food goodies available to the workers. The menu thus far has included popcorn, cinnamon rolls, hamburgers, and pulled pork sandwiches. Iowa kids being Iowa kids!!

 

Caution should be taken by visitors when at the erection site. Follow the notices on the signs, and do not enter areas where construction is actually occurring.

About 100 persons are in the area as laborers, and though not visible from the “wind roads”,know they are inside the towers doing their work.

The work will continue until all 20 turbines are in place probably around August 1st.  As the construction is completed, the temporary widened turning lanes that allowed transport of the blades are being converted back into the land owners fields.

(Much progress has been made since this writing.  An undate will follow.)