Indiana Wind Farms: Wind Turbines

Indiana Wind Farms: Wind Turbines

Indiana Wind Farm Along I-65

Indiana Wind Farm Along I-65


Indiana Wind FarmsΒ are here, there, and everywhere!

Okay, maybe that is a slight exaggeration but Β there are a lot out wind turbines (particularly along I-65) and more popping up all the time.

Indiana Wind Farms

We get a lot of questions about Indiana wind farms because my husband was the wind farm whisperer. We live in a small town so everyone knows everything about everyone, don’t’cha know.

My husband was often the “go-to” guy when it came to problems or questions about wind turbines. He seemed to have a sixth sense for what was wrong and how to fix it. Or, maybe, that’s just due to his background in every form of energy! But when it comes right down to it, wind energy is certainly his favorite. It’s clean and, according to him, fun!

Since there is so much interest in Indiana wind farms, I interviewed my husband, Jeremy Nunemaker, for the low-down on these giant green energy producers.

What is an Indiana Wind Turbine

Indiana Wind Turbine

Indiana Wind Turbine


Indiana wind turbines are giant monsters of steel. How big are Indiana wind turbines? Those you see around I-65 in Northwest Indiana are around 300 feet tall. Each blade of an Indiana wind turbine is 120+ feet and weighs 7 tons. Yes, that’s forΒ each blade.

Each blade of an Indiana wind turbine is 120+ feet and weighs 7 tons. Yes, that's for each blade. Click To Tweet

The wind turbine image to the top left may help you visualize the size of these. That is part of just one portion of the wind turbine and you can see how it dwarfs the lead truck! Many of these compose an Indiana wind farm.

A wind turbine is also tornado proof.

In 2010 and 2011, there weren’t very many elevators and certainly no heating or cooling systems inside. The only way up is to climb! There are such things as wind advisories and those with wind turbine jobs were not allowed in the field when the wind reached 30 meters per second. Some Indiana wind turbines do have elevators but not the sort of elevator you are imaging–think something more along the lines of shaky and the opposite of stable.

Green Energy in Indiana


The above is an interesting video showing the construction of a wind turbine. Although it is not located in Indiana, the idea is much the same. It involves cranes and lots of workers. Still, I think it provides a unique look at the process!

You’ll hear people and companies boast that they are buying “green” power or energy however, they aren’t buying the literal power that is created by a wind turbine. What they buy is, for accounting purposes, the amount of energy produced by a wind turbine.

So, the power produced by a wind farm in Indiana can be purchased by a company or organization in Florida or California. The actual power used by a location is produced by a power plant local to that area. The energy is essentially purchased from the Indiana wind farm.

How a Wind Turbine Works

Driving through Indiana, wind turbines may seem like they are being powered by something other than wind. Nope. Each wind turbine moves solely due to the wind. The speed is controlled so that the power is uniform. The speed is actually controlled by several factors, one of which is the pitch of the blades.

Each Indiana wind turbine monitors the wind and adjusts itself accordingly. This is why you will see an entire farm of wind turbines moving at the same time.

Each wind turbine moves solely due to the wind. The speed is controlled for uniform power. Click To Tweet

A turbine can only adjust it’s rotation so many times before it has to unwind itself to prevent the wiring inside from winding too tightly. It can take 15 minutes for the Indiana wind turbine to make a full rotation.

Questions about Indiana Wind Farms?

Hopefully this sheds a little light on Indiana wind farms.

Have any questions or comments about Indiana wind turbines for my husband to answer? Leave ’em below! Please refer to this article and the follow-up. Many answers to common questions about wind farms are found in my response to previous posters.

Small Towns: Destinations, not Drive-Thrus! I’m Jessica Nunemaker and THIS is little Indiana!

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About the Author:

Jessica Nunemaker is the Owner of Little Indiana.com. More than a website, Little Indiana is a book, "Little Indiana: Small Town Destinations" (IU Press) awarded first place in the "Best in Indiana Journalism for a Nonfiction Book" by the Indiana Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. Little Indiana is also a bi-monthly newspaper column in a local paper and a PBS segment on the former Emmy award-winning program, "The Weekly Special."

72 Comments

  1. eva carr April 19, 2015 at 2:21 pm

    Thanks for the great article! You answered all of our questions!

  2. Matt July 14, 2014 at 7:32 pm

    I drive by these almost every day for work and I was wondering why some will be going while others aren’t?

  3. Jessica Nunemaker June 6, 2014 at 10:47 am

    Thanks! πŸ™‚ That’s quite a trip–we lived in SC when hubs was in the Navy.

  4. Ellen T May 16, 2014 at 3:47 pm

    Thanks for the wind farm info. Was very interested while traveling to and from Wisconsin from South Carolina!!!!

  5. steve elliott May 10, 2014 at 9:07 pm

    i drove from louisville to chicago this past wednesday and i saw the wind turbines for the first time…all of them seemed to be turning….but on the way home the next day (thursday) most of them weren’t turning…and there was more wind on thursday…is there a reason why any of these would not be turning on a windy day?…just curious..also,someone told me that T.Boone Pickens owned all or most of them?…i’d also like to know how much one costs?…

  6. Susan March 23, 2014 at 9:37 pm

    My step dad is interested in putting a wind turbine on his farm in Northern Indiana. Do you have any recommendations for companies to talk to? Any suggestions relative to does and don’ts when purchasing, installing, and running wind turbine? Are any electric companies sponsoring private installations? Anything else you’d recommend?

    THANKS!!

  7. Gwen Wright February 22, 2014 at 11:59 am

    Hello Jessica, we travel on I 65 back and forth from Columbus Ohio to Chicago and are always in awe of the wind farms we see. In our recent travels we noticed that a lot of them weren’t running to the left of the highway (going toward Chicago, away from Indianapolis). My husband and I started a dialog about them and after googling them, I came across your article. Very informative! Question: with rh running off the wind, why would some be running and the others not? Thanks for sharing.

  8. Jessica Nunemaker October 30, 2013 at 6:37 pm

    @Dorothy Power runs through the national electric grid.

  9. Jessica Nunemaker October 30, 2013 at 6:37 pm

    @Eric — There are close to 1,000 wind turbines if you include the other farms within site of I-65. They are called wind farms. These are not windmills.

  10. DOROTHY MURPHY July 31, 2013 at 1:54 pm

    How does the power transmit to consumers?

  11. Eric Williams July 22, 2013 at 6:19 pm

    How many are there here off of I 65 and how much does 1 cost??? I believe its call windmill fields.

  12. Jessica Nunemaker March 8, 2013 at 1:02 pm

    Email sent! πŸ™‚

  13. Nancy Satterblom March 6, 2013 at 10:49 am

    Trying to find an expert on wind turbines to speak with my students. I am a middle school teacher in Lowell, Indiana and we are planning a project on Alternative Energy systems. We would love to know more about wind turbines because we would love to have one in our backyard – we have plenty of room where our school is built. Any information you can share would be greatly appreciated.

  14. Leora Duncanson October 15, 2012 at 7:10 am

    Wondered what is cost of a Wind Turbine and also if they know how long before they re-coop the investment. How long does it take to build one. Are there going to be any more added to the Turbine farm …

    Thanks

  15. Jessica Nunemaker October 2, 2012 at 12:00 pm

    Let me get back to you on some of this but, yes, there is actually video of them withstanding a tornado! Pretty incredible stuff.

    I do know that they use giant cranes to put them together. They also have folks who do maintenance on them.

  16. Jim P. October 1, 2012 at 5:02 pm

    Hi,
    Just saw the turbines for the 1st time last week passing through Indiana. Seeing them from afar and getting closer to the huge things made it feel almost like an “alien like” atmosphere! They are awesome! Being a mechanic, wonder how they assembled them (cranes? helicopters?), what maintenance is involved, and are there any bearings that have to be maintained? Did any blades ever fall off? And can withstand a tornado? Wow, that seems impossible. How were they tested to do that? They are beautiful, though!

  17. Koty McDole September 3, 2012 at 11:19 am

    Thank you for the info. We are from Anderson, Indiana and spent the holiday weekend at Jellystone in Portage, IN and Indiana Dunes/beach. We traveled north on 65 to get to our destination. The dads told the kids that little midgets work inside of the windmills. Of course, they didn’t believe them. On our way home I decided to google some answers for them and came across your site. Thank you! Thank you! I feel like we had a history lesson during our road trip and the 4 kids, ages 5-9, enjoyed learning the facts! πŸ™‚ I love being a Hoosier!

  18. Jessica Nunemaker July 25, 2012 at 11:16 am

    Thanks Ross! I appreciate the kind comment. Happy travels!

  19. Ross July 22, 2012 at 12:01 pm

    Jessica, thank you for your wonderful article! We were passing by the I-65 wind turbines (from ohio to chicago and back) and I had so many questions about them so I googled them and found your post! It answered all of my questions! Fascinating stuff.

  20. Dan Haines June 28, 2012 at 9:28 pm

    How do they get all the red lights to blink at one time? What direction do they usually face and can they rotate on their axis 360 degrees?

  21. Jessica Nunemaker June 13, 2012 at 8:38 pm

    Those are FAA lights. They are required by the FAA in order to prevent aircraft from hitting the wind turbines.

  22. Jessica Nunemaker June 13, 2012 at 8:37 pm

    They are actually all white. It’s the shadow from passing clouds that make them look gray.

  23. Nancy Griffeth June 13, 2012 at 8:30 pm

    I recently drove thru Indianna at night and saw the turbines lit up. Can you tell me why?

  24. Jessica Nunemaker April 30, 2012 at 8:31 pm

    I think most of your questions will be answered here:

  25. Jessica Nunemaker April 30, 2012 at 8:19 pm

    Hey Susan,

    Yes, those are blinking lights!

    The Federal Aviation Administration, the FAA, requires that certain turbines possess these lights. They blink so that aircraft are alerted that the turbines are there so they don’t become a hazard at night.

  26. Virginia April 30, 2012 at 7:41 pm

    Who owns the windmills? Who owns the land beneath them? Does the windmill owner get an easement to operate above someone’s land?

  27. Susan Hamilton, teacher April 30, 2012 at 12:43 pm

    When driving at night through the farm, we noticed red lights that appeared to be blinking. Are they blinking, or is it the blade passing in front of the light? What is the purpose of the blinking lights?
    Thanks,
    susan

  28. Jessica Nunemaker April 16, 2012 at 11:23 am

    Thanks Emery! πŸ™‚

  29. emery sheffield April 16, 2012 at 3:45 am

    we were on our way from columbus indiana to westville to visit my cousin there. it was a ‘jesus’ moment for us.i cant remember being as impressed by anything recently as i was by the sight of those stately turbines going round and round. seeing that we, in southern indiana, arent in the most auspicious place for a wind turbine,i wonder how we can invest in this ‘free’ energy source. i also want to lessen my dependance on motor vehicles and would like to lobby for more mass transit. . i wonder if this is something that you have an interest in.? i want to present my grand-babies with a world without the dependance on foreign oil. thank you for your site and the interest that it brings to our alternate energy need. emery sheffield

  30. Kathy April 6, 2012 at 6:12 pm

    The turbines are beautiful. Are they all white? It looked to me like some were light and dark grey.

  31. Jessica Nunemaker March 21, 2012 at 10:06 am

    @Gail — Absolutely. Sent an email. πŸ™‚

  32. Jessica Nunemaker March 21, 2012 at 10:06 am

    The windmills along I-65 are way bigger than you’d think! πŸ™‚

  33. Susan Stefaniak March 21, 2012 at 9:44 am

    I looked at some windmills,but they did not look like they were 300 feet!?They
    Looked like 50 feet?

    Daughter Jane, 8 years old

  34. Jessica Nunemaker March 14, 2012 at 9:00 pm

    –and they are on my list to check out as well. πŸ˜‰ I’ve heard of ’em from my neighbor, just haven’t made my way there yet!

  35. Rob March 13, 2012 at 9:22 pm

    This past weekend I have noticed 3 high schools West Central, Tippecanoe Valley and North Newton in McClellan township all have wind turbines.

  36. Gloria J. Notaro February 1, 2012 at 2:56 pm

    Our garden club (Vale of Paradise in Valparaiso) has monthly meetings and always has a speaker lined up. Is there anyone that could come to one of our meetings and give a talk on the wind turbines? It would be for the September 6, 2012 meeting. Any help is appreciated.

    Thank you,
    Gloria J. Notaro
    Vice President
    Vale of Paradise Garden Club
    (219) 406-5925

  37. Jessica Nunemaker January 18, 2012 at 7:42 pm

    Yes–until people get the facts. Sometimes folks think the land they take up can’t be farmed, but it can!

  38. Jane January 18, 2012 at 2:44 pm

    Was there any controversy about the wind farm. I am from east central WI and there is a lot of controversy.

  39. Misty January 1, 2012 at 5:31 pm

    Awesome post! My husband and I are just driving through asking tons of questions that you helped with! Are these farms privately owned? I wish Georgia would look at power this way!

  40. reba morris December 13, 2011 at 6:29 pm

    It’s me again , the town was near Rensaslaer(?) .

  41. reba morris December 13, 2011 at 6:27 pm

    Just drove up I65 yesterday and was amazed at the wind mills, how many are in the cluster that is right along the highway for several miles. Not sure what town we were near.

  42. Ruth De Bruyn November 10, 2011 at 12:34 pm

    Can you please tell me “how many” wind turbines are now located off of I65 and if there is another phase going in? Also, can you tell me how much ground they presently occupy and what the future site (size) looks like?
    Thank you!!

  43. Jessica Nunemaker October 24, 2011 at 5:16 pm

    Wowza. That’s a lot of windmills! πŸ™‚

  44. Kim Reynolds October 24, 2011 at 2:43 pm

    After seeing these last weekend I wanted to know how many — the wikipedia site gives the number by project and the total for Benton and White counties (west and east side of I-65) is about 750 windmills.

  45. Jessica Nunemaker October 17, 2011 at 8:14 am

    The different models vary but have an average of 2 megawatts.

    There’s a few different wind farms there: Fowler, Remington, and another project on the other side of I65 with a few different phases so it’s hard to say the exact number.

  46. mark ormsby October 14, 2011 at 7:01 am

    How many wind turbines are in that wind farm around I 65 and how many watts is each rated for?

  47. Shirl October 4, 2011 at 5:42 pm

    Just came thru I-65 on 9/30/11 about 11pm. My husband and I have not seen the turbines up close and didn’t know what they were at first. All we seen was red lights going on and off for what seemed like for miles. We finally seen one up close to the interstate and figured it out! A wind turbine farm…My question is what links all these turbines together so the lights go on and off at the same time. I thought at first we were being invaded…haha!

  48. joni hayes October 2, 2011 at 2:12 pm

    how many wind turbines are there throughout the drive on i65?

  49. Jessica Nunemaker September 29, 2011 at 8:46 pm

    Hey Dan,

    Not at all. Most of your energy in the Northern part of the state comes from just a few power plants. Power can travel hundreds of miles before it actually reaches you. πŸ™‚ Pretty neat stuff!

  50. Dan Kissel September 28, 2011 at 2:34 pm

    I have seen the big group of turbines along I-65. They seem to go for miles, which makes me wonder. I didn’t see an electirc company anywhere in site. Where are all these going back to? Seems like a very far distance for transmission lines. Just trying to gain some knowledge about these. I’m all for wind energy.

  51. Jessica Nunemaker September 27, 2011 at 7:54 pm

    Absolutely–I’ll post the follow-up next week for ya! πŸ™‚

  52. Jessica Nunemaker September 27, 2011 at 7:53 pm

    Hey Tracy,

    I will be posting a follow-up article to this hopefully early next week. I can say, though, that the noise level is very low. It’s a soft “whooshing.” I’ve heard a few complaints here and there about noise but since I’ve personally heard them…I think it’s most likely people who haven’t ever stood near one! They are very quiet–it’s quieter than the sound of traffic on a street. I’ll make sure to have answer the rest of your questions for next week! Thanks! πŸ™‚

  53. Tracy September 27, 2011 at 7:22 pm

    I am very curious about these giants. We just dove though on Aug 25th and saw them, funny we didn’t see them on our way to Chicago but on our way back to Georgia we did, even more puzzling. Something I have not seen posted is the value of these? Are they paying for their self? Do they create enough power to replace electricity? Just how much do they produce? I read on the Law Blog something about noise? We were on the interstate so of course we did not hear them. Are they noise up close??

  54. Todd September 18, 2011 at 9:16 pm

    Im lost on the unwind? can you go more in depth.

  55. Jessica Nunemaker September 14, 2011 at 10:16 am

    They really are amazing! πŸ™‚ Thanks for stopping by little Indiana.

  56. Tara September 12, 2011 at 10:13 pm

    My grandpa lives in Fowler. The first time you see these giants is incredible. They are so beautiful in their own way.

  57. Jessica Nunemaker September 7, 2011 at 9:27 am

    Hey John–Sorry, I thought this was spam!

    Hubs is no longer in the wind industry. Thanks.

  58. John Hendrickson August 29, 2011 at 10:36 pm

    I would like to meet with your husband to learn more about opportunities available for supplying the wind industry. Thank you for your time.

  59. Jessica Nunemaker August 26, 2011 at 12:00 pm

    Load to the slip rings is a concern but it’s mostly a price issue.

  60. Dana Brown August 26, 2011 at 11:58 am

    Why don’t the wind turbines use slip ring technology so they don’t have to unwind?

  61. Jessica Nunemaker August 24, 2011 at 9:35 pm

    Hey Tom,

    So far–I don’t think so. It is an interesting topic for a small town list, though! πŸ™‚

    My husband has worked on the wind turbines in Iowa in the past.

  62. Tom Lefebvre August 16, 2011 at 7:28 pm

    I just finished a drive thru Iowa and Minnesota and they also have large wind farms. Has anyone compiled a list by state or is anyone keeping track of the “spread” of wind farms. I know my home state of Maine has started to erect some on nearby mountains. I have also seen the farms in California.

  63. Jessica Nunemaker August 15, 2011 at 7:41 am

    I hope to post Part 2 to the Indiana Wind Turbines article this week (or next for sure) to answer the questions I’ve been receiving! πŸ™‚ Thanks for stopping by!

  64. Angela santiago August 14, 2011 at 2:24 pm

    Where is the energy stored and how does it travel to the power company?

  65. Brenda Alter August 9, 2011 at 8:43 pm

    As we were driving along I65 in Indiana,we came across the farming area where your wind turbines are. We found them absolutely fascinating ! We went online and discovered a lot of information on them. We just had to get a few pictures as we were driving along,because nobody would believe what an unusual sight it was to be driving along and see them as far as the eye could see. It was a truly a spectacular sight and one we will never forget!!!

  66. Jessica Nunemaker July 23, 2011 at 9:44 am

    Hey, Bill. The previous commenters didn’t have questions. πŸ™‚

    Actually, when the wind is too high or too low or there is a problem with the transformers, they shut them down. Hard to believe that it can be too windy for wind turbines, but they are very regulated.

  67. Bill Leonard July 23, 2011 at 8:31 am

    I drove thru Lafayette on Friday, 7/22/11 and ALL wind turbines from east to west, north to south, were not moving. If they have to be stopped to be rewound, do they ALL get stopped at the same time for the same length of time.? How soon will this comment be mentioned on your page.? I am 88 and would like to see something before I check on the wind turbines in the great beyond. Thanks. I see the comments above were for May and this is almost the end of July. So I guess about 2 months is when I MAY see the answer to my query. Will this be sent to my e-mail address, home address, or in the local newspaper. By now, the wind must be blowing and the turbines are revolving.

  68. Culinary Cory May 30, 2011 at 4:15 pm

    Wind farms are cropping up all over the place in PA. I didn’t realize how large they were because I only see them from a distance.

  69. Mari May 28, 2011 at 1:52 pm

    Great post! We rode down I-65 on the way to Conner Prairie with the grandgirl and got into an animated discussion about the turbines. Unfortunately, none of us knew very much. I’ll be sure to share this!

  70. Jessica Nunemaker May 27, 2011 at 9:53 am

    Wow–is that all it’s been? It does seem like they’ve been there forever!

    Certainly makes that drive along I-65 a bit more interesting, too. πŸ˜‰

  71. Lana May 27, 2011 at 9:26 am

    Now, you know we are smack dab in the middle of the Fowler Wind Ridge Project right? They have become a part of my daily life, and it’s hard to remember them not being there, even though it’s only been three years!

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