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Ask Mr. Answer Person: Numerous questions about the Luther College wind turbine

Posted: Mon, Dec 5, 2011 8:02 AM

Mr. Answer Person has been receiving numerous questions from readers about the Luther College wind turbine.  But before you start typing an e-mail to Mr. A.P. with your question, he wants to point out that the most common questions can be answered by visiting an informative Luther College web page,  

Here are two questions that aren't covered by that web page.  Mr. Answer Person talked with Jim Martin-Schramm, the leader of the wind turbine project, to get answers:

--"The new Luther wind generator does not appear to have a marker light on it like most wind generators.  Maybe there is one and it can't be seen from the valley?  If there isn't one,  shouldn't there be one?  It seems like this structure would be tall enough to be a hazard to aircraft especially on top of a hill like it is.  Also, the Luther radio antenna appears to be lower than the generator and it has a marker light on it."

Jim answers: The turbine did come with an FAA hazard light, but it has been tripping circuit breakers and is defective.  The replacement part has been ordered and will be replaced under warranty.  We expect it to be operational within a week or so.  The FAA has been notified and they, in turn, have notified local airports.

--"Is there a web site (on-line or proposed) with the power generated statistics? This could be a showcase to highlight the cost effectiveness of the turbine project."

Jim says, "GE commissioned Luther's wind turbine on October 30, 2011. The data on turbine production is communicated to Luther, to Alliant, and to GE.  We purchased a communications package that also enables us to make the production information accessible in real time to the public.  We are in the process of integrating these data streams with Luther's new Lucid Building Dashboard:  This is a new system that only recently has been installed.  We purchased a module that allows us to publish the turbine's production in real time.  We expect to have this operational in the next month or so.

Thanks to Jim Martin-Schramm--and don't forget to visit the Luther College web page,  

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