This puts a wind turbine’s real size into perspective

Here in northern Texas, there are a great many wind turbines generating electricity for who knows where.  One doesn’t really get a sense of how big they are when zipping past on the highway.  Even driving past (or around) the huge turbine blades, transported on outsize trailers, doesn’t give an idea of the size of the whole turbine.

However, I found this photograph over at C. W. Swanson’s place.  It opens one’s eyes to how big those things really are.  Clickit to biggit.

The two workers inside the turbine blade hub really put things into perspective, don’t they?  Next question – what sort of crane is needed to hoist them up that high?  I can’t imagine a helicopter could do it . . . or am I wrong?  Those of you who’ve seen it done, please let us know.



  1. What they use here is a large(ish) tracked crane that is I suspect in the 500 to 750 ton range . The parts themselves are really not that big an issue weight wise , but handling that long of a stick is another matter . As a side note, the fella who brought the cannon last B'rado works on the windfarm near us on the service and electrical side of things .

  2. As others have said, they can be done by crane, but there are heavy lift helos that do the same thing in areas where cranes are impracticable! THAT is some impressive flying!

  3. one of my peeves with wind power. the roads cutting through otherwise wildland. they may be dirt roads but it has to be substantial to allow those huge cranes with their support trucks

  4. Regarding bruce's comment, never forget that, given the electric power needs of the US, these wind turbines will often, perhaps mostly, provide only partial and periodic supplies of power, and as such electric utilities still must maintain enough capacity using nuclear, hydroelectric, or fossil fuel-powered generation to meet the needs of its customers AT ALL TIMES. Wind turbines exist on the scale they do mainly because of the subsidies we taxpayers provide to the utilities to construct and use them. I dare say that the turbines mainly allow shutting down, or throttling back the more conventional generating operations, which may not be useful from a cost/efficiency standpoint.

  5. On a side note, at Small Dead Animals is an interesting table of power generation by various sources in Alberta, Canada.

    Alberta is usually windy, too.

    The Blogster lists all sorts of fun facts under the 'we don't need no stinking fans' heading.

    Other headings deal with 'sparky cars' and other fun stuff.

    I recommend reading this blog for the Canuck perspective on the world.

  6. I imagine future archaeologists looking at ruins of these things, and saying, "What in the hell were they thinking? How could a people be so smart, and yet be so stupid?"


    1. This. So much this. It's…it's just so freaking stupid! Amazing machines, though. Look at the size of it! I may think it's stupid, but I can still cackle gleefully over the giant, intricate machines involved, lol. 😀

  7. Heaven help you if you're stuck living with these stupid eyesores. They're anything but quiet. They make not only an audible "swoosh" but a weird barely audible pulse that you can feel more than hear. It doesn't fall in every person's range of senses but if you can hear/feel it the effect is unpleasant and annoying or worse. Then there's all the dead birds. Each one kills everything from songbirds to bald eagles by the bushel. They play hell with weather radar especially making the weather radar useless in the area where they're put. You should see the things when the braking fails in high winds. They disassemble themselves in spectacular fashion. They burn like hell too. Rather than one power plant in one spot these monstrosities take up vast tracts of land, require huge electricity distribution systems and are just a terrible way to generate power cheaply and with the smallest footprint.

    1. There's a ladder/stairway that goes from the bottom of the "stem" up to the head, for maintenance access, etc. As stupid as their use might be, they're still pretty cool machines. 🙂

  8. These like solar seem to require too much mass to give any real return on it for a commercial scale. I'll gladly invest in a wind turbine or solar panels for my house if they prove to be cost effective. And by that I mean that I don't buy back the cost of these devices by the time their useful lives have expired. While they seem to be okay here in Wyoming where there is not a lot of things like birds, or land that is disrupted by them far to often they cause more damage than burning things would, and they don't seem to meet their projected life expectancy, or even provide a return on the costs vs savings by the time they are replaced.

  9. Wikipedia says the Sikorsky S-64 sky crane has a 20,000 lb lift limit. Probably not enough but still darned impressive as dry the helicoper weighs a little over 19,000 lbs itself…

  10. Trucks hauling mast sections for that project have been a common sight in my neck of the Missouri Ozarks for some time now. They look like giant silos strapped to extended-length low-boy flatbeds, dwarfing the Kenworths pulling them. The rigs are longer than a standard semi-trailer and more than a lane wide, with chase vehicles fore and aft. Instant rolling traffic jam. Just from the size of the mast sections, I can only imagine what the completed tower looks like . . .

    They're shipped from a manufacturer in Illinois to St. Louis, then down I-44 west to Lebanon, MO. At Lebanon (due to height restrictions on 44 between Lebanon and Springfield) the haulers are detoured onto Missouri 5 north to Camdenton, then westbound on US 54 to Nevada and I-49, where they turn back south to pick up 44 at Joplin to continue their westward trek to Texas. Through some of the smaller towns – like Camdenton, where the haulers have to negotiate a hard left turn in the town square – a police escort is required.

    More than once – and usually when I'm running late for work – I've seen one of the hauler rigs hung up trying to make the turn onto 5 in Lebanon from the exit off I-44, with the lowboy bottomed out on the pavement. Coming back home in the evening, it's also not uncommon to see one of those rigs and its chase vehicles parked on the side of Old 5 in Camdenton just short of the square, either waiting for its police escort or simply hitting one of the local fast-food joints for dinner.

    –Wes S.

  11. I'm thinking that using cranes to assemble those eggbeaters is make-work for them. If the designer of that thing couldn't be bothered to engineer it to lift it's own parts, he shouldn't have gotten the job. Good grief! Its a tower, folks! Who made the decision to be so inefficient?

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