September 27

wind turbine generator

If you live in the mid-section of the United States, chance are one of these may have contributed to your electricity usage today.  This generator had just arrived at the location where it would be set on top of the stem, blades added and then wired to the system that turns wind in to electricity.

In the background, behind the foreground activity, you can see one wind turbine and the generator on the stem.  From a distance, they don’t look as huge as they are — as large or larger than the semi-truck that hauled in the unit.

These turbines are just east of the Wilton Energy Center at the newly commissioned Baldwin Energy Center.  Crews have worked two or three shifts a day to get the Baldwin Center on line.  When the large Manitowoc crane was done with this pick, it was moved down the road to the next turbine site.  The crane was as wide as the road, there was no passing, just following, much like the oiler who kept the tracks well oiled as the crane walked down the gravel to the next site.

Wind power electricity generation is becoming very popular in North Dakota.  How close are you to a wind farm in your neighborhood?

April 6

bent powerline steel from the spring snow storm

Here is why it will take weeks to restore power to many parts of the upper midwest following that freak spring blizzard. The heavy wet snow and high winds collapsed a number or power lines such as this one carrying electricity to power grids east of here. Crews from several states converged on the hardest hit regions of North Dakota and worked on the priority transmission lines.  The height they worked is evident by that water windmill in the lower part of this photo on the right.  Check out the relative size of the men in the bucket.

It was my good fortune to live just a few blocks inside a power service area that was not affected, even though this line is about 10 miles south of my home in Wilton.

March 12

waiting for spring's "hurry-up"

Construction grinds to a halt in the winter, but now that it’s spring, the “hurry-up” season is about to begin.  East of Bismarck sections of crane booms sit in a construction company yard waiting to be put to use.

And like so many recent days, fog and overcast skies are the rule.

Later, I drove up to Wilton through Wing, and as they’d been doing all year, the deer were feeding in town.  They’re not really afraid of people, just warytwo deer in wing

Finally by day’s end we got our first glimpse of blue skies.  Spring is here, for sure. Just check out the muddy rural roads. This new water tower is part of the enhanced water system for our part of the state. Work had been slowed down during the coldest days of the year, but when it wasn’t too much below freezing, crews were at it to get the tower completed.

It’s what I hated about being an iron worker in the winter.  Cold, windy aerial work was always a challenge handling cold steel.  Now, I handle a camera from the warmth of my pickup