On a windy night, when some of us might worry about things going bump in the dark, Dan Rottler ’92 frets over 20-ton boxes of gears turning more than 200 feet above the ground. The gearboxes are like outsized automobile transmissions, capable of cranking the energy of the slowly turning 16-rpm blade of a wind turbine up to 1,800 rpm.
As plant manager of Puget Sound Energy’s Wild Horse Wind and Solar Facility, Rottler has 149 of these beasts to lose sleep over. Not to mention wildfires, lightning strikes, microbursts of changing weather, blizzards, ice-covered power lines, and even more unexpected things, like the time … » More …
Nine Canyon Wind Project near Kennewick Photos by Zach Mazur
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The WSU Energy Program has a leadership role in the Washington Wind Working Group, a coordinated effort to plan for large wind systems in Washington state. This participation is integral in determining the industry’s future.
One of the program’s specific tasks is in the development of detailed wind maps for the region. This effort, known as The Northwestern U.S. Wind Mapping Project, updates data and mapping methods to accurately reflect the … » More …