"You'll never get ahead if you don't take care of what you have." - Doris Waddell, RIP

A historic building on our U of M-Morris campus - morris mn

A historic building on our U of M-Morris campus - morris mn
The multi-ethnic building was the original home of the music department at UMM. (B.W. photo)

Monday, September 26, 2011

Now it's turbines, plural, for U of M-Morris

They say the land by the river is the same as before civilization arrived. (Photos by B.W.)
The turbines as viewed across the choppy water of Lake Crissy (by Pomme de Terre City Park) on a spring day.
Here we see the turbines from the West Central Research and Outreach Center (WCROC). This photo was taken soon after the second turbine went up.
Generally speaking the best photos of the turbines are when they're dark, silhouetted against the sky, but they can look quite striking when glistening-white too, as this photo shows.
The gazebo on the west side of the Pomme de Terre River makes for a fine foreground landmark in this photo of our two grand wind turbines. The turbines have become like a trademark of the Morris community, kind of like the Gateway Arch for St. Louis, MO.

It's a little dreary writing about "energy" so soon after the CenterPoint Energy escapade of this past weekend (Sept. 23-25). People will be telling stories about that for a long time.
Ironically the weekend was an upbeat time for "energy" on an unrelated topic. It was a time to celebrate the second wind turbine.
The first was quite the novelty and we still don't take it for granted. Now with two in place on the eastern fringe of Morris, they're unquestionably a trademark of Morris. They're majestic. Against a sunrise or sunset they're riveting to look at.
I haven't tired as a photographer approaching them. There are endless angles one can use depending on the wind direction. Sometimes the blades are dark against the sky and often they're shimmering white.
Sometime I'd like to get a shot when they're white against very dark clouds.
Several special events were held on Saturday, Sept. 24, to celebrate the second turbine having its blade spinning. There was even a "2K Wind Walk" beginning at the Student Center at the University of Minnesota-Morris. The walkers ended up out at the dedication site.
Some excellent background on UMM's wind power was shared in the September 22 edition of the University Register. The front page article by Faless Jeremiah (news editor) was headlined "Twice the Love."
I sense some extra spark in the Register this year compared to before. Kudos to Joey Daniewicz, editor-in-chief, who is definitely making this venture into a crusade.
I have suggested in the past that maybe UMM didn't need the Register anymore. It's true that no matter how committed a newspaper is, there are storm clouds for this media form. But Daniewicz is striving to ensure that the Register is lively, stimulating and relevant. And psssst, there might be a little "liberal media bias" once in a while!
Our first wind turbine began operating in spring of 2005. The new structure, located 1600 feet to the south, looks identical but for the record it's 10 meters taller. It can deliver 10 percent more power than the existing turbine, Jeremiah's article pointed out.
Wind energy is now expected to "provide an average of 70 percent of campus electricity," Jeremiah wrote.
That figure could jump to 100 percent when conditions are right, "right" meaning that the wind we're known for out here on the prairie is especially robust.
Last spring there were days when the wind virtually howled. It got ahold of the front storm door on our house and obliterated it. We subsequently had Steve Sauter on behalf of Morris Lumber and Millwork come out and remedy that. The new door is even better.
It was a vicious south wind that shattered the previous door.
It's the northwest wind that usually makes all of us shudder. And winter is getting closer with each passing day. My goodness, what if the CenterPoint Energy thing had happened in the early stages of winter?
I have suggested that someone write "CenterPoint Energy the Musical." It could be written from the perspective of those guys going door to door in harried fashion, getting a fleeting glimpse of ordinary home life in Morris.
The weekend was a little stressful for us because we didn't know what happened until Saturday morning. I went to bed Friday night in a grumpy mood, expecting to have to try to summon our plumber (Mohr's) out to our place on Saturday. When I called, Mohr's had a firmly worded recording stating that CenterPoint Energy was responsible for remedying the situation.
So I could breathe a sigh of relief, in a sense, knowing we weren't alone. But I'm sure Mohr's would have come out if needed. It's a well-oiled company.
I'm sure our local law enforcement and government had a hectic weekend making sure the incident was properly attended to, and that government resources wouldn't be called into play any more than required.
You don't suppose some heated words were exchanged between certain parties, do you?
Today (Tuesday) I think most of the problem is behind us.
Back on the wind turbine subject, UMM Chancellor Jacqueline Johnson was quoted in the Register saying "the second wind turbine will fix our electrical costs for the next 20 years."
Let's end on that upbeat note.
- Brian Williams - morris mn Minnesota - bwilly73@yahoo.com

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