Wind Turbines At the Golden Acorn

Wind Turbines at the Golden Acorn

Wind Turbines at the Golden Acorn

When you are traveling on Interstate 8 either leaving San Diego and heading into the desert or climbing the Tecate divide and heading toward San Diego a fantastic sight awaits you. Suddenly you see giant wind turbines spinning in the air. These gleaming white structures are a sight to behold. There are 25 of them. They are the largest wind turbines that are manufactured. Each one is 20 stories or 218 feet tall and produces 2 megawatts at full power.

History

The campo band of Kumeyaay Indians after building a very successful money making project called The Golden Acorn Casino and Travel store, were looking for a way to diversify and expand their earnings and benefit the environment as well. They knew they had a very windy place on the top of the Tecate divide so they natural thought of producing power with wind turbines. After some study they partnered with Babcock and Brown and General Electric to design and build 25 two megawatt wind turbines to be installed on the top of the Tecate divide overlooking the Anza Borrego desert on one side and the Golden Acorn Casino and travel store on the other side. In December of 2005 the completed project was turned on and began supplying power to the power grid.

Technology

Each wind turbine is state of the art technology. The turbines have a tri blade propeller with each blade of the propeller measuring 140 feet. When a propeller is laid on the ground it covers nearly the length of a football field. Each turbine has a controller and it’s own computer. The wind turbines begin to rotate at winds of 5 miles an hour and shut down at 50 miles an hour for safety reasons. The power generated from all 25 turbines goes to a distribution station and from there it is fed into the power grid through newly refurbished power transmission lines.

Cost

Babcock and Brown, who have 15 other wind farms around the world put up 50 million of the 80 million project. The Campo Indians provided the land through a 20 year lease and General Electric built the turbines. The Campo Indians receive money from the lease and royalties from the power generated.

Benefits

The Campo tribe benefits from the lease money and the royalties. The rest of us benefit from the power produced. This project helps us all meet the State of California goal of 20 % power from renewable resources by 2010. While 30 to 50 megawatts is still a drop in the bucket compared to the 4000 or so megawatts that the state uses, every little bit helps. Now that the project is up and working other tribes in windy places are looking into installing wind farms as well. It is also kind of neat to see native Americans prospering after being mistreated and held back for so long.