Biology 164 Field
Trip to the Rosebud Reservationís New Wind Turbine,
Tony Rogers describes the wind turbine project to Darrell Twiss, Penny Davis, Michelle Kutzke, Elvin Returns, and Cristy Hawk.
The wind generator is a NEG Micon
brand, 750 kilowatt unit that was originally installed in
After putting together funding from a federal government loan and a loan from the Rosebud Rural Utility the RST Utility Commission purchased the generator for a total turnkey price of $770,000, including transport, installation, training, and maintenance.
The generator was delivered in January, 2003, and after pouring the 30 ft. deep foundation it was installed during one week in February.† One hundred forty-seven bolts hold the turbine to its foundation.†
The footprint of this 750 kw turbine on the landscape is a circle about 12 ft in diameter!† Cattle could graze beneath this structure, crops could be grown, etc.† Compare that with the land area appropriated (and often degraded beyond restoration) for an equivalent amount of power output by a coal strip mine and power plant, oil drilling rig and power plant, nuclear power plant and radioactive waste storage facility . . . you get the idea that this is an amazingly unobtrusive electrical power plant.††
The generator went online on March 5.† It is 190 feet tall at the hub and each of the 3 turbine blades are 77 ft. long.†
Elvin Returns (right) admires the beautiful clean-energy machine.
It will deliver about 2 million kilowatts per year.† The Casino and hotel consume about $110,000 in electricity each year.† The wind generator will supply about half of this power, and any excess power produced will be sold to the utility.
Jim Harp, in charge of maintaining the wind turbine, explains the power panel display to Elvin Returns.
We got to look at the control panel display and saw the instantaneous output of the generator in the 9.3 meter/sec (21 miles/hour) winds blowing at that time.†
The rotor was only turning about 22 revolutions per minute, but the gearing in the large nacelle was running the generator at over 1,800 rpm.† It was generating about 295 kilowatts as we watched; that would produce 295 kw/hr in over an hourís operation.†
This is a very rough approximation of the power curve of this wind turbine, showing the maximum output of just over 750 kw at about 14 m/s (about 31 mph) and shutting down to prevent damage at 25 m/s (about 56 mph).
A normal home uses about 25 kw each day, so the generator in these moderate winds was generating enough power in one hour to run 10 homes for a full day.† Over just a 10 hour period that would supply enough energy to run 100 homes for a full day.† Pretty impressive power for such a quiet, unobtrusive, and totally clean, nonpolluting powerplant!† I stood directly beneath the spinning blades and the only sound was the faint swoosh of blades cutting through the air.
Tony has plans to build 2 additional wind farms which will operate with 20 new 1.5 megawatt wind turbines each, producing 30 megawatts on each wind farm.† The first large wind farm is scheduled to go into operation on the Rosebud Reservation in 2005.†
Tony mentioned that other local reservations, including Pine
Ridge, are considering implementing wind power systems to begin using the
clean, renewable, and abundant
The Rosebud Casino and Hotel facilities and their new power plant quietly supplying clean, renewable wind-generated electricity.
We are very grateful to Tony for meeting us and showing us his excellent wind turbine powerplant.† As a result of his pioneering efforts in paving the way to connect wind turbines to the local utility grid and sell excess power back to them, the door is now open for other groups to get on board and start utilizing our non-polluting, natural wind power.