Inside the secret world of wind turbines

Published: Aug. 31, 2017 at 5:42 PM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

Driving along Interstate 75 through Findlay, you've likely seen those giant wind turbines. But in the middle of fields, its hard to get a sense of how big they are. Turns out: they're 40 stories tall.

"Take your sister hook and connect it to the ladder," our guide Ben from One Energy said.

"We have two wind turbines that serve Whirlpool and we have three of these wind turbines that serve Ball," One Energy's Katie Treadway said.

On solid ground, Treadway heads up regulations and is a lawyer for the company. Like many of the rest of the staff, she's also made the climb for an up close look at these power generating giants.

"So about 15-20% of their power comes from these wind turbines," Treadway said.

Since our last visit, Findlay-based One Energy has nearly doubled its workforce.

"Since last November we received 80 million dollars of financing from Prudential Capital Group. Which was absolutely game changing for us," Treadway said.

Jordan and Ben are engineers on the turbines, and our guides for the day.

"So I was just telling him if you drop something, yell rock," Ben said. "You yell rock, you alert everybody that something is dropping."

If you don't like heights or tight spaces, this may not be for you.

You can see 25 miles on each side, as the fog burns off over Findlay. When the wind speeds hit about 15 mph, these turbines reach peak performance. Looking up, the top of the blade towers 405 feet above the ground.

"You don't want to carry up a 50 pound bag of tools," Jordan tells us.

Back inside, getting down is the easy part. One Energy says it's an easy ride for its customers, too. They get fixed cost electricity for twenty years. So, why is Findlay a hotbed for turbines?

"It has 1) good wind, and 2) lots of industrial customers and lots of industrial facilities," Treadway said.

One Energy's turbines are strictly used for industrial clients. But Katie Treadway tells us that one turbine alone could power 400 to 500 homes.