The state fair board and MidAmerican Energy dedicated the new wind turbine at the Iowa State Fair today with a ribbon cutting. MidAmerican president Greg Abel says the turbine that towers over the fairgrounds is a demonstration project.
It’s a half megawatt turbine he says produces enough energy for the 11 days of the fair. Abel says the turbines you see in rural areas would generally be twice to three times the size of the fair turbine.
The fairgrounds is a unique setting in the middle of the largest city in the state, a place you wouldn’t normally see a turbine. Abel says the wind in the urban areas isn’t as high, and they usually put the turbines in the rural areas so they’ll generate more electricity. The turbine was built quickly after the approval of the fair board to have it up and running.
Abel says there’s a lot that went into its creation. He says there are 50-thousand pounds of steal above the ground, including the turbine and the blades, and 40-thousand pounds of steel in the ground with concrete supporting it. Able says they can build a large six wind farm over six to nine months. Able says it takes a wind of 11-miles-an-hour to produce electricity.
On average he says all turbines produce the full amount of energy they can 35-percent of the time due to the variable winds. There are times when there’s too much wind. (Photo left to right: MidAmerican president Greg Abel, State Fair CEO Gary Slater, Governor Chet Culver, Lt. Governor Patti Judge)
Abel says it has to get about 56-miles-an-hour for them to shut the turbine down. He says there are times in the winter when they have to shut the big turbines down, but says "that’s a relatively small period of time." Governor Chet Culver was on hand for the ribbon cutting.
Culver says the turbine tells the nation and the presidential candidates that tour the fair that "Iowa is very serious when it comes to our commitment to energy independence." The turbine at the fair is 133 feet tall with rotors that are 64 feet in length.