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Wind Energy Research & Demonstration

WCROC Wind Turbine

In March 2005, the West Central Research and Outreach Center (WCROC) began operating a 1.65MW wind turbine. This 230-foot turbine provides the adjacent University of Minnesota, Morris with 5.6 million kilowatt hours of power each year; this is more than half of UMM's annual electricity requirement.

Wind Turbine Overview:

  • Groundbreaking for turbine construction was held November 10, 2004.
  • The first large-scale wind research turbine at a U.S. public university began generating power March 7, 2005.
  • Turbine dedication ceremonies were held on Earth Day, April 22, 2005.
  • The wind turbine is a 1.65 megawatt Vestas NM 82.
  • It sits on a 230-foot high tower. Each blade is 135 feet in length.
  • The turbine will begin producing electricity when the wind speed reaches 7.8 miles per hour at 230-feet and will reach its maximum production of 1.65 megawatts of electricity at wind speeds of 29 miles per hour.
  • On Earth Day 2007, the turbine's total electrical production of 11,570,000 kWh (since March 8, 2005) resulted in the following emissions not being emitted into the environment:
    • CO2 (carbon dioxide): 12,322 tons
    • NOx (nitrogen oxides): 44 tons
    • SO2 (sulfur dioxide): 78 tons
  • According to wind data collected at the WCROC, the turbine location above the Pomme de Terre River has an average annual wind speed a more than 16 miles per hour at 230 feet.

Of equal or greater interest is the wind turbine's potential to generate additional energy sources and to provide a platform for this research. A three phase plan is in place to demonstrate and conduct vital research in the areas of stored wind energy with hydrogen, fuel mixing, and value added products such as producing fertilizer from wind energy. Partners in this project include the Legislative Commission on Minnesota Resources, the Upper Midwest Hydrogen Initiative and member companies, Windustry, and the National Renewable Energy Lab.