Many things to report about the trip. First I thought the Turbine was in Sangamon County. All the press always called the location as “south of Auburn”. Well yah but it is not even in Sangamon County. It is WAY south of Auburn like 3 exits. So I am driving down I 55 looking for this 360 ft. tower and not finding it. I almost turned back. This is no big deal but since it is all the way down at the Morrisonville exit in Montgomery County some journalist could have said so. I mean it is no big deal but geez:
Gob knob’ wind turbine to begin spinning
T.J. Salsman/The State Journal-Register Work on the wind turbine 30 miles south of Springfield has gone fairly quickly for the past few weeks.
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THE STATE JOURNAL-REGISTER
FARMERSVILLE — Dave White was reminded during construction why a hilltop just off Interstate 55 south of Springfield was selected as the site for a wind turbine that is expected to begin churning out electricity this week.
“One of the drawbacks (to completing the erection of the turbine) was that we couldn’t get the wind to stop blowing,” said White, one of 300 customers of the Rural Electric Convenience Cooperative of Auburn about to keep the lights on with the aid of wind-blown power.
The co-op has approximately 5,500 members in Montgomery, Sangamon, Morgan, Macoupin and Christian counties.
It has been more than two years since plans were announced for the “gob knob” wind turbine, named after the pile of “gob,” or coal waste, from a Freeman United Mine that operated at the site from 1951 to 1971.
The area 30 miles south of Springfield is part of the Freeman Mine State Wildlife Habitat Area and remains a popular seasonal hunting spot.
Equipment backlogs — the turbine was shipped from the Netherlands, and the blades from Mexico — repeatedly postponed the $1.8 million project after a ceremonial groundbreaking in the fall of 2006.
The difficulty in obtaining equipment in competition with major wind farms also resulted in downsizing of the original plans for a turbine that would have supplied up to 500 homes.
“Gob Nob” Wind Turbine ProjectThe Gob Nob project is a unique partnership between RECC and the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, which owns the land near Farmersville where the 900-kilowatt wind turbine is located.
Central Illinois is not blessed with the “prime” wind speed sites that can be found in the Peoria, Bloomington and Quincy areas. However, there are some specific locations in our area that can provide moderate wind resources. The Gob Nob site is one of those, where a 60-foot pile of coal tailings covers about 14 acres at the former Crown I coal mine . This extra height gives us access to the higher wind speeds needed to generate electricity almost every hour of the year.
The DNR has made this site available to our cooperative to enable us to generate clean, renewable energy for use by our members. All electricity produced by the turbine is fed through our Farmersville substation to power up to 370 homes and farms in the surrouding countryside.
Drivers on Interstate 55 south of Springfield can see the 900-kw turbine for miles from Exit 72, where they can stop for a closer look and visit the information kiosk to be installed at the base of the hill.
The turbine tower was constructed in late December of 2008, and commercial start-up was completed in early March of 2009. To see photos of the construction process, click here.
It was also really quiet. I need to go back sometime when it is a little less windy. I did not hear the “swoop swoop” noise that residents complain about…nor did I notice any “flicker” effect that all NIMBY’s report. That is not to say that they don’t exist. This machine this visit I did not witness it. Quite the opposite – they stopped it while we were inline to see the innards and I never noticed it. One minute it was going real fast the next it was stopped. They have been having bearing problems. The one big bearing that it sits on has been overheating and it has to be stopped to cool down. The manufacturer says that it will seat itself in a couple of months.
Sunday, April 19, 2009
FARMERSVILLE — More than two years after then-Lt. Gov. Quinn attended a ceremonial groundbreaking for the “Gob Knob” Wind Turbing east of Farmersville, now-Gov. Quinn will return to the site Monday to dedicate the unit.The turbine, just off Interstate 55 about 30 miles south of Springfield, began generating power last month for the Rural Electric Convenience Cooperative at Auburn. The project was delayed by the difficulty of purchasing the tower and turbine as worldwide demand has increased for wind-generated energy.
“Gob knob” is taken from the turbine’s location atop a hill created by coal waste at the reclaimed mine site. A public open house is scheduled for 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. next Saturday.
I never thought I would get a chance to steal from friend Will Reynolds, but here yah go. The final thing I will say for now was that the turnout was overwhelming. I pay attention to things like publicity profile, and expected numbers at events. The coop only has 5000 members or so. When we got to the tent that RECC had set up, there were dozens of people in and around the tent…3 full vans headed up the hill and probably 50-60 people inline up at the turbine. When I signed the book it was full and the staff had people writing their names on the blank BACKS of the pages. This attendence was generated from a little notice in the SJ-R and an even smaller notice in the Illinois Times. The attendance was totally off the chart. When I got out of the van at the top of the hill I said, “how does it feel to be on the wave of the future”. The Driver said, “pretty good actually”. I think I will leave it at that.
Closed coal mine sprouts wind turbine
I made a random stop during a road trip when I saw the new wind turbine off I-55 near Farmersville Illinois. I had heard about it being built but this was my first time seeing it. The ribbon cutting was April 20, just a few days after I went by.
I took a few pictures. They’re all pretty large if you click on them.
The turbine is at the site of a closed coal mine. The Hillsboro paper tells us:
The 230-foot turbine sits on top of a 60-foot gob pile at the former Freeman Crown 1 Coal Mine, which closed in 1971.
The site was covered with a layer of clay soil in 1991 and planted with a mix of grasses for wildlife cover, and donated to the Illinois Department of Natural Resources in 1995.
Oh I hear the grassland bird hunting is pretty good too.