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Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Local Wind Turbines 2

Today's topic is jobs. Wind power is supposed to create more jobs. OK, let's be honest. Any new power generation method is going to create jobs.

These 56 turbines (plus some extras) came to Ludington by train and truck. The bodies were brought in on Marquette Rail, a small rail line. That business certainly had a West Michigan impact. Every tower has four sections and one section fits on one rail car.

wind turbine parts

There was a huge staging area where the tower bodies, blades, rotor housings, and the nacelle (the big box that holds the gears and generator) were all stored until transport to the construction sites.

That was all done by truck.

wind turbine parts

Were they local trucks and drivers? I don't actually know, but my guess would be "no." Every truck I ever saw was one of these same plain red ones. There is a name on the door, but I didn't get a good enough picture of one to read it. The reason I think these must be special trucks, with specially trained drivers is because of the problem of moving the blades.

Each blade is two truck-lengths long. Turning corners with those babies was not an average moving job. One morning, doing the paper route, I was held up while they maneuvered blades out of the staging areas and onto the roads. It took numerous back-ups and pull-forwards to turn the corner.

wind turbine parts

Some of the turbines were taken to Wisconsin on the S.S.Badger ferry. That is definitely local jobs.

See Twin Queens of the Lakes for pictures of the Badger.

Every road where the blades were taken had to have the corners widened, so there was loose gravel and orange barrels at each of those for the summer. I presume local construction crews did that work.

Now, where did the parts come from? Well, that company name on the tower section is Vestas. That's a Danish company. They do have plants in the United States, but not in Michigan. As you can imagine, there are not many companies that make these specialized machines.

And where is this power going to go? It will stay in Michigan, but is being sent to the other side of the state.

(With the usual lack of common sense often applied to problems, electricity used here which is generated by wind comes from the east side of the state.)

And, there was quite a lot of disruption of local business. Almost everyone I know was held up at one time or another waiting for the trucks. And those delays were sometimes as much as 30 minutes. That's not good for other kinds of jobs.

See Wind Power on the Way
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Valerie said...

I found this very interesting. Seeing your pictures made me realise the sheer size of the turbines. I certainly never appreciated exactly how big they are. There was an item in the UK news yesterday that government is considering halting the erection of more turbines. Apparently we have enough!

vanilla said...

Those things are going up in our county, too. 306 169-foot blades passing through our town on trucks, one at a time. Truck driver, lead car, tail car, two state patrol cars for each. (Who pays the SP?)

Anyway, Sharkey, nice analysis of the "job impact" on the local scene. "Our" power will also be transported elsewhere while we import ours from somewhere else.

Secondary Roads said...

And the impact on local jobs lasts how long?

Ann said...

My thoughts were the same as Secondary Roads. Yes maybe it created jobs but not permanent one

Ann said...

I forgot to thank you for catching that typo on my blog in the word Autumn. I can't believe I did that. I don't know how many times I looked at it and never noticed....lol

Lin said...

Wow, those things are huge. I think I would have a fit if I was sitting in traffic for 30 minutes waiting for them to move that thing. Not cool.

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