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Indiana Wind Farms: Wind Turbines

Indiana Wind Farms: This is One of Four Sections that Compose a Wind Turbine

Indiana Wind Farms: This is One of Four Sections that Compose a Wind Turbine

Wind farms in Indiana towns are here, there, and everywhere!

Okay, maybe that is a slight exaggeration but  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.

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

What is an 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 for each blade.

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

Indiana Wind Turbine: Wind Farm Along I-65

Indiana Wind Turbine: Wind Farm Along I-65

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.

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!

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

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About Jessica Nunemaker

Jessica Nunemaker is the little Indiana owner and Host of a little Indiana segment state-wide on PBS. Sometimes, she even sleeps. You'll usually find Jessica gallivanting around Indiana towns (population 15,000 and less) with her husband, Jeremy, and two boys (ages 9 and 5) in tow in search of where to stay, play and eat in small towns across the state! Small towns: destinations, not drive-thrus!

70 comments

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

  2. Jessica Nunemaker

    Thanks! :) That’s quite a trip–we lived in SC when hubs was in the Navy.

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

  4. 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?…

  5. 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!!

  6. 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.

  7. Jessica Nunemaker

    @Dorothy Power runs through the national electric grid.

  8. Jessica Nunemaker

    @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.

  9. How does the power transmit to consumers?

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

  11. Jessica Nunemaker

    Email sent! :)

  12. Nancy Satterblom

    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.

  13. 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

  14. Jessica Nunemaker

    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.

  15. 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!

  16. 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! :) I love being a Hoosier!

  17. Jessica Nunemaker

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

  18. 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.

  19. 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?

  20. Jessica Nunemaker

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

  21. Jessica Nunemaker

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

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

  23. Jessica Nunemaker

    I think most of your questions will be answered here:

  24. Jessica Nunemaker

    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.

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

  26. Susan Hamilton, teacher

    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

  27. Jessica Nunemaker

    Thanks Emery! :)

  28. 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

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

  30. Jessica Nunemaker

    @Gail — Absolutely. Sent an email. :)

  31. Jessica Nunemaker

    The windmills along I-65 are way bigger than you’d think! :)

  32. 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

  33. Jessica Nunemaker

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

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

  35. 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

  36. Jessica Nunemaker

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

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

  38. 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!

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

  40. 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.

  41. 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!!

  42. Jessica Nunemaker

    Wowza. That’s a lot of windmills! :)

  43. 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.

  44. Jessica Nunemaker

    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.

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

  46. 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!

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

  48. 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. :) Pretty neat stuff!

  49. 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.

  50. Absolutely–I’ll post the follow-up next week for ya! :)

  51. 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! :)

  52. 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??

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

  54. They really are amazing! :) Thanks for stopping by little Indiana.

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

  56. Hey John–Sorry, I thought this was spam!

    Hubs is no longer in the wind industry. Thanks.

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

  58. Jessica Nunemaker

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

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

  60. Jessica Nunemaker

    Hey Tom,

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

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

  61. 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.

  62. Jessica Nunemaker

    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! :) Thanks for stopping by!

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

  64. 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!!!

  65. Jessica Nunemaker

    Hey, Bill. The previous commenters didn’t have questions. :)

    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.

  66. 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.

  67. 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.

  68. 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!

  69. Jessica Nunemaker

    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. ;)

  70. 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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