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Cleveland has the biggest wind turbine

July 8, 2011

By Alex McKinley

Wind is a powerful force on the Earth. It destroys property and sometimes hurts people. Now we have started to try to obtain this power and utilize it as our own energy. Lincoln Electric has just built the biggest wind turbine in North America.

This enormous wind turbine is located on the property of Lincoln Electric in Euclid. From the Shoreway it is an impressive view. The turbine stands 278 feet above the complex and the blades look as if they will make the structure fly away when they are spinning.

The turbine has 2.5 megawatts that it produces which has enough energy to power about 600 to 700 homes. The whole project cost $5.9 million, Lincoln Electric is giving $4.5 million to help start Wind turbine manufacturing in Cleveland.

Lincoln Electrics Wind TrubineLincoln Electric borrowed $350,000 from Cuyahoga County and received a $1 million federal stimulus grant. Cleveland is also thinking about putting a windmill farm in Lake Erie. This will produce jobs and boost the city’s economy.

Off shore wind turbines are very common in Europe, but here in the United States, they are nowhere to be found. We have the east and the west coasts along with the Great Lakes. So shouldn’t we be looking into this form of energy?

In the Cleveland area there are three turbines: Case Western, the Great Lakes Science Center and in Brook Park. For the last five years there has been an idea to put wind turbines in Lake Erie. 12 wind turbines close to the shore will produce five to 20 megawatts of electricity. All the manufacturing that goes into these turbines, it will create close to 12,000 jobs for Clevelanders.

“It breaks my heart to hear that this turbine was manufactured in Germany, when we have companies in a 60 to 70 mile radius that can manufacture a wind turbine,” said Dr. Majid Rashidi, chair of the Engineering Technology Department at Cleveland State University.

This gargantuan structure is a start to making Cleveland a city where wind energy can be obtained. Rashidi says that Cleveland is behind states like Texas and California in wind energy, but we can change that because we have the infrastructure.
He states that Cleveland has the resources for smaller types of turbines that can help the city with energy and make Cleveland vibrant.

“We can play a specific role in wind energy,” says Rashidi. “I’m happy to see Lincoln Electric building a wind turbine in Cleveland.”
The wind turbine was manufactured in Germany, by Kenersys Gmbh. This company wants to build a factory in the U.S. although they are small now they are growing.

There are many manufactures in the Cleveland area that can produce the parts for the turbines. So the next turbine should be manufactured in the United States. Rashidi feels the same way.

Production speed on the turbine played a major factor in having it imported. They wanted it up right away, so possibly the next one will be built here in Cleveland.
We have the resources here in Cleveland to build and produce the parts for these wind turbines. Horsburgh and Scott are making Massive gears right now that can be used in these turbines. Along with other companies that can fabricate the parts possibly to make these turbines operate.

“Nothing is in the turbines that we can’t make,” said Rashidi. Cleveland has the companies and the engineers to produce more wind energy turbines to help put Cleveland on the map.

There has been talk about putting wind turbine farms out in Lake Erie. This would be a great investment for Cleveland. Rashidi has sat in on some of these meeting for the wind turbines on the lake.

“This is a good idea to put them in the Lake because the wind is not disturbed,” said Rashidi. The only problem with putting the turbines on the lake is the foundation for the structure. These structures are so vast that it takes a lot to hold them down. To hold this turbine in Euclid in place, it took 2.3 million pounds of concrete in the base

The whole tower itself weighs a whopping 800,000 lbs. this is the biggest wind turbine in North America. This turbine will cut $500,000 off of Lincoln Electrics annual electric bill.
Rashidi says that there are two ways to anchor the turbines in the lake. The first way is to secure it in the water. By putting it in the water and have wires keeping it standing upright. The base would be poured. The second idea would consist of barges which have the turbines secured to them. These are just some ideas but the engineers and architects would come up with the most efficient way.

This just the beginning of wind energy in the Cleveland area, hopefully this will bring the manufacturing companies ideas and they will start to produce their own wind turbines to spin freely in Lake Erie.