Ohio Utility-Scale Wind Farm Breaks Ground

Green Mountain Energy Company, American Municipal Power-Ohio (AMP-Ohio) and the City of Bowling Green broke ground for the construction of two wind turbines in northwestern Ohio. The wind farm is expected to be completed and generating power by the end of the year. Tied to the electric grid through a Bowling Green Municipal Utilities substation, this will be the first utility size wind farm in the state.

Bowling Green, Ohio – September 2, 2003 [SolarAccess.com] Plans call for the wind farm to be built on county-owned land seven miles west of Bowling Green, along Ohio Route 6, near the Wood County Landfill. It would consist of two, 1.8 MW wind turbines mounted on 257-foot towers with three, 132-foot blades attached to each unit. At its highest point, the tip of a blade is taller than a 30-story building. Combined, the units will generate approximately 6.9 million kWh of electricity annually — enough to power approximately 785 homes, said the developers. “Green Mountain Energy Company came to Ohio two years ago with a commitment to make pollution-free generation a reality in Ohio,” said Paul Markovich, the company’s senior vice president of U.S. markets. “Utility grade wind soon will be a reality in Ohio; and this is just the beginning.” “We are committed to assisting our member communities in diversifying their generation portfolios,” said AMP-Ohio President Marc Gerken, who called the wind farm a great opportunity for its member communities. “This commitment includes exploring the increased use of renewable energy resources in the generation of power.” “In recent years, we have renewed our dedication to alternative energy sources and environmentally-preferable energy generation,” said Bowling Green Utility Director Daryl Stockburger. “We are proud to be the host site for Ohio’s first utility size wind farm.” Stockburger also recognized Green Energy Ohio (GEO), which promotes sustainable energy policies, for sharing the wind testing data it collected for several years in the Bowling Green area. He said that without GEO’s research, construction of the wind farm would have been delayed at least one year. In an interesting side note, according to Green Mountain Energy, this wind farm groundbreaking is not the first significant event concerning Ohio and wind powered electricity. In 1898, Cleveland inventor Charles Brush built the first large-scale wind-powered electricity generator. Born in Euclid in 1849, Brush was a restless backyard tinkerer and clever entrepreneur. A child prodigy, by age 15 he had built electrical gadgets, microscopes and telescopes for school friends. Brush graduated from the University of Michigan in 1869, with a degree in mining engineering. He is best remembered for his dynamo and arc lights, which illuminated a Cincinnati physician’s home in 1878 and later, Cleveland Public Square in 1879. These and more than 50 patented innovations made Brush a wealthy man. His company, Brush Electric Company, merged with other companies that eventually formed General Electric. Brush constructed his wind-powered turbine behind his Euclid Avenue mansion. It also may have been his most conspicuous creation. The 60-foot, 40-ton wrought iron tower held the windmill’s wheel which measured 56-feet in diameter, had 144 blades and a sail surface of 1,800 square feet. The tail was 60 feet long and 20 feet wide. A 20-foot shaft inside the tower turned pulleys and belts, which at top performance spun a dynamo at 500 revolutions per minute. The dynamo was connected to 408 batteries in Brush’s basement. These dry cells illuminated 350 incandescent lamps and operated three electric motors and two arc lights. The whole contraption produced 12 kW at its peak. The windmill reportedly lasted for 20 years.

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