One might think with yesterday morning’s extremely high winds West Central High School’s wind turbine would have been cranking out quite a bit of electricity. However, contrary to popular belief, Superintendent Charles Mellon explained that while strong winds do allow the wind turbine to produce more energy, winds that are any higher than 25 mph actually don’t produce that much more energy than 25 mph winds.
“People think when you get 40 mph winds we’re really turning it up, but that’s not the case. The meter is set to produce 900 kilowatts a day, when it’s running in full capacity,” Mellon explained.
He says the school has been keeping busy with routine maintenance on the turbine, and it is up, running, and producing electricity. The minimum wind speed for the wind turbine to begin producing energy is six mph, and that speed must be maintained for ten minutes before the turbine will kick into action to prevent the equipment from starting up and shutting down repeatedly.
Mellon says the ideal weather for the turbine to produce energy is a “nice, sunny day,” with a breeze of “about 25 mph.”
While yesterday morning’s storms caused a significant amount of damage in Starke, LaPorte, Lake, and Porter counties, Mellon says the turbine did not sustain any damage. He says a fail-safe is in place, forcing the equipment to shut down if winds exceed 56 mph. The turbine will turn its blade and face parallel with the wind, to prevent the strong winds from damaging the blades.