WIU Students Tour Wind Farm in Brown County

Some Western Illinois University students recently had the opportunity to tour a new wind turbine in Brown County, thanks to the Illinois Institute for Rural Affairs ( IIRA ) Wind Energy Program. According to the IIRA, which is housed at WIU, 12 students — whose areas of major study include renewable energy and wind technology in WIU’s interdisciplinary studies program; manufacturing engineering systems; and recreation, park and tourism administration — were invited to experience the first utility-scale 1.5 megawatt turbine at a Nov. 1 Adams Electric Cooperative open house event.

Adams Electric Cooperative’s website states the new turbine, which stands 279 ft. to the hub and 403 ft. to the blade tip, will generate enough power for 300-400 homes each year. According to a recent story on WGEM’s website, the cooperative’s newest wind turbine, located east of Mt. Sterling ( IL ), has been in operation since the beginning of September.

"We were excited to provide our students with an opportunity that would allow them to have a hands-on educational experience," said IIRA Wind Energy Program Coordinator Jolene Willis. "Environmentally, wind is a great renewable and non-polluting energy resource. Wind turbines help to reduce the amount of electricity generated by other fuels, as well as maintain the cost of producing power."

The IIRA is designed to improve the quality of life in rural areas by developing public-private partnerships with local agencies on small business development and community development projects in rural areas.