Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

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June 10, 2012

Northwestern tapping into wind energy

Turbine to produce 2.4M kilowatts per year

Scott McKay and his family looked up to the sky as a crane carefully hoisted the third piece of Northwestern School Corp.’s 322-foot wind turbine into place.

“It’s not every day you get to see one of these giant things go up,” McKay said.

He, his wife and three daughters sat at the work site south of Northwestern High School Wednesday watching the structure take shape.

They were not alone in their curiosity. About 30 people joined them. Some sat on bleachers, in lawn chairs or in truck beds. Others sprawled out in the grass.

“It’s been a beehive of activity here,” said Harold Seamon, assistant superintendent for the district.

On June 2 and 3, truck drivers delivered the pieces of the turbine. Even then, they were greeted by spectators who pulled to the side of the road to ask them questions, Seamon said.

“They said they felt like celebrities,” he said, with a laugh.

It took two days to piece the giant crane together. Wednesday, contractors started erecting the turbine’s base.

McKay and his family had been watching it go up for hours

McKay described the experience. He said the crane lifted the pieces slowly and methodically until they were positioned in just the right place.

Then workers stationed inside the base bolted the pieces together.

“You can hear those guys banging it into place,” McKay said. “You can hear the air ratchets going.”

The spectators were waiting for the grand finale, though.

At about 3 p.m., a crane carried the blade to the top of the turbine where workers fastened it in place, which completed the structure.

McKay marveled at the turbine. He said he thought it looked “pretty cool.”

But it’s more than that. McKay said he thought the turbine would be a good investment for the district.

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