The two greatest things I saw this Christmas

“Compatible with Wü” — Oldest Boy got Lego Rock Band and a cheap third-party guitar. The guitar maker must not have had the authority to use the name Wii, but this solution had us in hysterics on Christmas morn. (Also, the box reads “When play Guitar Hero 3 games, the glissandi will no function due to the game limit.” I should probably be grateful they didn’t spell due “do“.)

On the trip between Cincinnati and Chicago, we also got to witness Windmills in the Mist.

This is the barest tip of the massive Meadow Lake Wind Farm in White County, Indiana, just north of Lafayette. We came upon it first at night, and were baffled by the rows and rows of red lights blinking in unison. Faint back-lighting from a nearby town just barely allowed us to see the outlines of those massive blades. It was an awe-inspiring sight.

Just look at these beauties (as seen on the Very Blustery Day we passed them on the way home):

The effect of the rows upon rows (totaling 121, apparently) of windmills was lost amid the snowstorm, but it gave me goosebumps nonetheless.

According to the Horizon Wind corporate site:

Meadow Lake has an installed capacity of 200 megawatts – enough to power approximately 60,000 average Indiana homes with clean energy each year. … The electricity generated by the wind farm is sold into the regional wholesale market. The associated energy credits are used by businesses and organizations to comply with state renewable energy mandates or to voluntarily reduce the environmental impact of their operations.

Well, I say, “Wü hü.”

6 Comments

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6 responses to “The two greatest things I saw this Christmas

  1. Jan

    I’m so pleased you wrote about Meadow Lake Wind Farm. I saw it for the first time this November out my car window and was fascinated (wow! technology), curious (how did they do all that?), repulsed (ugly–is this replacing meadows and forests?), impressed (when did these advances come without me knowing a thing?!)–and watched the long arms moving in the wind, row after row, beyond counting.
    I appreciate your observations. Thanks for writing in a way that is concise and clever. I’ve been drawn in!

    • jdrewscott

      Thanks for the kind words! I totally hear your thoughts about the ugliness — I think a lot of people object to these (or the idea of them) because they think they’re unsightly. I dunno, they sure aren’t as charming as a tulip-lined field of Holland windmills, but I found them riveting in a look-what-man-has-wrought kind of way, like the Hoover dam or a Bikini Atoll test. Unnatural but powerful. It helps that I’m reading Al Gore’s “Our Choice” book at the moment, and this farm is the first effort of “collective will” that I’ve seen in practice, so it felt current and urgent to spy it with my own eyes.

      Now: How would you feel about seeing a water-bound wind farm within sight of the shoreline of Lake Michigan?

  2. Bezer

    I find wind farms a fascinating and beautiful machine. Long graceful arms spinning effortlessly in the breeze, quietly making the electricity we so desperately need. Their construction is amazing. Huge pieces of steel, gears you or I could stand in the middle of and not touch the other side. The top “box” is as big as a school bus! How about the people who are putting them together? Give them a big hand too.

  3. jennibelle

    You wouldn’t believe the size and length of these blades. We see them being hauled by “wide-load” semi’s all the time! Got em right here in Texas too! I think they’re incredibly cool – no pun intended!

  4. Anneke

    We saw a huge number of windmills in southern Spain this summer. It’s an incredibly windy part of the world (as in being sandblasted when you are at the beach). Perfect for wind farming. I found the sight of many windmills (there were hundreds) to be surreal and beautiful. They were dotted along the top of ridges for miles and miles.

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