Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Renewable Energy

About half an hour from our house is the Puget Sound Wind Farm.  We've driven past these mountains a few times,driving to various parts to the state, and every time we do, the boys are so excited to see the 'pinwheels'.  So the first Saturday Bart didn't have to spend putting in new orchards we took the boys to really see the 'pinwheels'.  

Along the ridges of the mountain range you can see 149 wind machines.  They go as far as you can see in both directions.  At the top of the mountain range is a visitors center.  

This is the a real blade for the wind machines.  We see these driving down the highways on massive trailers quite often.  Bart and the boys are standing at the end of it to give you some perspective of how long these things are.  Each individual blade is 129 feet long and weighs over 7 tons. 

You can also see solar panels.  These are the largest solar panels in use in the Pacific Northwest.  Although with the rain and overcast skies we get, solar power isn't always the best energy source.  They still will generate 5-70% of normal output even on an overcast day.  

Wind Power is almost constant.  Especially on this mountain range where the wind machines are producing energy at least 75% of the time.  

The boys were amazed at how huge the blades are.  Even better is that they are the world's best echo makers.  Carter asked if he could take one home.  We told him it wouldn't fit in our suburban. 

Although I couldn't get it to show on picture, the ends of the blades are incredibly thin, 
and even though they are made of metal, gigantic and weigh 7tons, it is actually flexible.  

I knew the inside of the Visitors Center couldn't possibly stand up to the outside in excitement for silly little boys, but it was pretty close.  This was one of the very first electric cars ever made.  
Carter was sad however that they wouldn't let him drive it.  

Owen loved the "trackers" (two year old for Tractor, Truck, Crane or any other big machine) that were used to lift the 221 foot high, 104 ton wind machines into place.

Jackson (our resident science guru) was very serious about the "Wind Production Display".  He's part scientist, part competitive race car driver, so he not only had to produce more wind than any other member of the family, he had to do it the fastest.

The precursor to the wind machine sits outside the entrance to the Visitors Center.  Jackson (sitting underneath) thought this was so cool.  He wanted one of these to take home.  We told him we would totally have gotten him one but that wouldn't fit into the suburban either.   

And now come to think of it, It's also probably not the way to go since Jackson's great great Grandfather fell off a windmill and was killed.  New family rule:  Nothing that killed your ancestors should be kept in your front yard. 

Bottom Line:  Wind farms are pretty awesome to visit.   Fun, interesting and even educational.  
(Oh, and bring jackets because they are FREEZING)

And way to go on all that earth friendly energy, 
but I still think they've missed the most impressive source of energy, available to man. 
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