The rural spaces of Indiana make it a perfect backdrop for a wind farm. Crops can be sown underneath and between the turbines as power needs are solved with this sustainable array. When you’re out in Benton County, Indiana, be ready to greet 50,000 acres of wind turbines. Discover the fascinating history behind windmills in Indiana so that you have a greater appreciation for the science -and art – behind these massive wind farms.
The Eighth Biggest Wind Farm
Being the eighth largest wind farm in the world is a major distinction for this humble part of Indiana. If you picture 200,000 residential homes in a centralized area, you have the exact number of structures that this electrical output can support. When every turbine rotates at peak speeds, the electrical output is a whopping 599.8MW.
It took a little over two years to construct all of the wind turbines in Indiana that call Benton County home. These huge machines tower over the landscape as they gracefully collect the plentiful winds. With inexpensive land and constant wind flow, this Indiana wind farm is a smart investment for the future of the nation’s energy needs.
Constructing the Turbines
The first phase of windmills in Indiana began construction in 2008. Because of its final size, the wind farm had to be divided out into phases by its construction crews. It had a grand total of two phases, which offered more than 350 turbines spinning at a given time.
Wind turbines in Indiana aren’t all one style either. This farm has a mixture of three different models. As you look to the horizon, you’ll see Clipper C-96 2.5MW models, Vestas V82-1.65MW turbines and GE 1.5MW designs. Each turbine offers its best functionality for the application site. The Vestas models, however, are the most numerous at almost 200 turbines total.
Serving The World
Most turbines serve the local residents with sustainable power. The Fowler Ridge Wind Farm does help out the community, but a larger purpose has been dedicated at this property. In 2016, Amazon’s Web Services contracted with Fowler to harness the energy for its cloud-based servers.
As a result, these turbines are serving the world with clean energy as Amazon runs its servers that support cloud computing. With the cloud expanding at an incredible rate, it’s possible that the Fowler Ridge Wind Farm will grow as well. Time will tell if this farm will rise in its ranking of largest wind farm around.
Eliminating the Solar Idea
One of the major reasons for building the wind farm is the lack of other clean resources. The sun certainly shines in Benton County, but this area of Indiana is known for its cloud cover. In fact, nearly 8 months out of the year is reported cloud cover.
Installing solar panels wouldn’t be cost effective in this area. Another factor is the lack of sun during the winter months. It’s possible for Fowler to have only nine hours and 16 minutes of sunlight at the winter solstice. Engineers know that sunlight harnessing through solar panels wasn’t the solution in Indiana. The wind is a better resource.
Capitalizing on Wind Patterns
Benton County has steady wind throughout the year. The best wind patterns last from the fall and into the spring. Nearly eight months of the year is windy. During the summer, the winds die down. However, turbines don’t need high winds at all times. The slowest wind speed at 7.2MPH can easily spin a turbine and get it running.
Lake Michigan is due north of the Fowler region, which allows winds from the north to funnel into the area. When you combine those winds with the plains breezes off to the west, Benton County is perfect for wind-energy production.