Each wind turbine is 262 feet high and the tower has a diameter of 14 feet. The blades of the wind turbines are 120 feet long so that the total height from the ground to the tip of the blade is more than 380 feet, approximately the height of a 32-story building.
Depending on wind conditions, the blades turn at rates between 10 and 20 revolutions per minute. Considering the length of the blades with average wind speeds of 13 to 15 mph, the tips are traveling at 120 mph. At maximum wind speeds, the blade tips are spinning at an estimated 180 mph.
Wind velocity can vary up to five miles per hour across the site.
A private developer built the wind farm for a total project cost of $12.5 million. The ACUA will purchase electricity from the developer at a fixed rate of $.0795 per kilowatt hour for 20 years.
Due to the potential of blocking the wind, the site can only accommodate the five wind turbines.
The Federal Aviation Administration requires red navigation lights on top of each wind turbine as a warning for aircraft in the area
Lights attract insects and insects attract birds, therefore the wind turbines cannot be lit.
When the wind is blowing more than 12 miles per hour, each wind turbine can produce 1.5 megawatts of electricity. At reduced wind speeds, electricity production decreases. When wind speed exceeds 45 miles per hour, the turbines shut down to protect the machinery inside. It is estimated that the five wind turbines will produce enough power during the year to provide energy for 2,500 homes.
The wind farm is owned by Leeward Renewable Energy, LLC.
The wind turbines are practically silent; however, on very humid days a slight “whoosh” can be heard.
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The ACUA facility requires approximately 2.5 megawatts of power each day. When wind speeds are above 12 miles per hour, all of the electricity required to run the plant can be generated by two of the five wind turbines. The remaining power is sold to the main power grid. The wind farm supplies approximately 60 percent of the electricity required by the plant on a annual basis.
A weather station located on top of each of the wind turbines turns the nacelle, the small building at the top of the tower, facing into the wind. The turbine’s three blades pitch to maximize the speed at which the turbine spins. A shaft, attached to the hub of the blades, turns a gear box that is attached to a generator that processes the electricity. The electricity is then transported to the ground by wires, which are then attached to the electrical grid at the plant. Electricity not used by the ACUA runs backwards through the electric meter into the main power grid.
Private and commercial electricity users can purchase wind generated power through their local electric company through the New Jersey CleanPower Choice Program.
The cost of wind generated power generally costs a little more than electricity generated by fossil fuel plant; however, wind energy is both a clean and renewable source that does not contribute to climate change.
In the GE 1.5-megawatt model, the nacelle alone weighs more than 56 tons, the blade assembly weighs more than 36 tons, and the tower itself weighs about 71 tons - a total weight of 164 tons. Source.
ACUA worked with NJ Audubon during the first three years of the wind farm's operation (required by NJDEP and NJBPU). The study included regular grid walks and use of an onsite radar system. The study found a small number of bird deaths which could be attributed to collisions with turbines. The study, and many others, found that many other bird fatalities were caused by raccoons, feral cats, and collisions with wires and trucks. The Audubon Society's research has led to their strong support for wind energy that is properly sited and operated to minimize the impacts on birds and other wildlife. More on this subject