Wind Power and the Turkey Point Wind Project
From the North Sea of Norway to the Appalacian Mountains of the Northeastern United States, wind power has become the forefront of sustainable, renewable energy around the world...and Lancaster County is no exception. The Turkey Hill Dairy and the Lancaster County Solid Waste Management Authority are two prime examples of organizations in Lancaster County making steps towards clean, reneable energy. One collaborative example between the two stands out in particular; the Turkey Point Wind Project. The following piece will enlighten you on the mechanics behind wind power, the cons of wind power, and various other reneawble energy processes being made by Turkey Hill and LCSWMA.
Frey Family History
What is Wind Power
Cons of Wind Power
Wind Farms in Pennsylvania
Offshore Wind Farms
My Journey Continued
Turkey Hill's Sustainable Efforts
Turkey Point Wind Project
October 21, 2013.
I awoke that particularly brisk Monday morning feeling rather anxious…but also rather excited. After much preparation, a day I had been looking forward to had finally arrived. Today was the day that I would visit the Turkey Point Wind Project. As a student at Millersville University, Turkey Hill products can be found in a vast surplus of deliciousness. The university might as well change its name to something with Turkey Hill incorporated into it. Millershill? Turkeyville?
The Turkey Hill Dairy Farm continues to provide the university with its various products and even goes as far to provide free samples at various sporting and promotional events. Every day thousands of students see the Turkey Hill brand name and don’t even know the full extent of what Turkey Hill has, and continues, to accomplish. In terms of sustainability and taking green initiatives, Turkey Hill has been making huge leaps towards a more sustainable mark on our planet. These efforts need to be spread and shared with the Lancaster County community and I felt a personal duty to spread the word. By spreading these efforts to the local community, I hope that students here at Millersville University will have a more appreciation towards Turkey Hill products and spread this appreciation into their own lives.
My journey began with a little history lesson of how Turkey Hill came to be, which can be traced back to the Frey Family...
Frey Family History
The Frey Family’s legacy began with the intent of making a little extra money in hopes of supporting the family. Armor Frey would gather up as much milk as needed and deliver his product to friends and neighbors. The great depression was a rough time for everyone and that certainly included the Frey family. Armor’s route began to expand and expand and soon his part time milk delivery endeavor became his only job.
In 1947 the Frey children, Glen, Emerson and Charles bought and took over their father’s business. The business continued to thrive as the production and delivery of their products to friends and neighbors was enough to support the three young men and their families. In 1980 the family decided to expand their ice cream parlor, and began to open new, independent shops under the name, Turkey Hill. The business would soon expand to the likes that Armor Frey never thought would happen, as Turkey Hill became a Lancaster County staple.
A large portion of what was previously the Frey Family Farm is owned by the Lancaster County Solid Waste Management Authority, or abbreviated as, LCSWMA. LCSWMA was founded in 1954 when the Lancaster Area Refuse Authority was founded. LARA, as it was commonly abbreviated, opened and operated multiple landfill sites in Lancaster County leading up to the 1980s. After years of research LARA realized that the need for a more modern, comprehensive management of waste system was needed. In 1986, the company changed its name to LCSWMA to embody a newfound mission of the processing of municipal waste and recyclable materials. The new plan called for a new landfill, waste-reduction systems and a waste-to-energy facility. Each year, LCSWMA is responsible for the processing of 600,000 tons of waste through their various facilities.
LCSWMA currently owns 93 acres of the previous Frey Family land. On said land, one can find the location of the Frey Farm Landfill. This landfill is responsible for the receiving of mostly inorganic matter, which has lessened production rate of gas, odor and liter.
In more recent events, green initiatives and sustainability have become the forefront of multiple businesses and organizations and both Turkey Hill and LCSWMA are no exception. But one effort stands out in particular…mainly because they are 393 ft tall. An area located on LCSWMA’s Frey Farm landfill property is now the location of the Turkey Point Wind Project. Through a partnership between LCSWMA, Turkey Hill, and some essential help from PPL Renewable Energy, the plan was conceived and contracted.
What is wind power?
Wind power on a larger scale is an effort being made to lesson the damage that global warming has taken on our planet. By providing an emission free source of power, wind turbines are commonly grouped together in wind farms. The kinetic energy conducted by the spinning of the blades can be harnessed and used as electrical energy.
The use of wind power in the United States can be traced back the later half of the nineteenth century. During this time the main use of “wind turbines” was to simply provide a way for farmers to pump water into tanks for their livestock. During the 1930s and 40s, wind turbines began to be produced more commonly and used on farms that were far away from the general power lines. Although it wasn’t until the 1970s when the idea of wind farms generating a subtle amount of energy became a desired goal by our nation. Through the 1980s a small amount of manufactures began developing wind turbines that could be used as an alternative fuel source. Over the next few decades, wind power has expanded as both a fuel source and a market. Wind power now has multiple supporters, which include: the fish and wildlife association, the department of the interior, and the American Wind Energy Association. These various organizations hope to eliminate tons of pollution from our already polluted environment, all while promoting wind power as a forefront of renewable energy.
Cons of wind power
Although wind power has become relatively popular, as a fairly large amount of wind farms can be found through out the country, there is some scrutiny from those who are not so appealed by their presence. A commonly received complaint deals with the noise that is given off by the wind farms. Many residents who may live near or often commute near a wind farm complain about the noise that is given off by said wind farms. Health problems such as lack of sleep, fatigue and headaches are commonly reported amongst
wind farm “victims." Wind farms are also responsible for producing infrasound. Infrasound, which are sound frequencies that are inaudible, effect the inner ear on the body. These sounds are heard and felt through out the body and are currently under investigation as to whether or not their presence has dire affects on one’s health.
Land use is a common concern amongst those who are against the construction of wind farms. Wind farms are generally constructed on land that has already been cleared or impacted by something that has resulted in a cleared area. Disturbances to the land that are required in order to construct a wind farm are rather minimal compared to wind energy’s counterpart, coal fired facilities. While a wind turbine might reside on a farm area, the area can still be used for the grazing of cattle, planting and harvesting crops. Wind turbines only require 200-400 m2 of area in order to construct a solid foundation. Often times the land required for the construction a wind turbine is land that is own by a land owner who is then paid for the placement of the turbine on their property.
A common complaint associated with wind farms is their effect on local animal inhabitants and wildlife. The unfortunate demise of birds and bats colliding with various turbines associated with wind farms is a popular reality that occurs. Generally, before a wind farm is constructed, the flight patterns of birds and other winged species are studied in order to modify the positioning of the turbines. The Black Law Wind Farm, located in Lankenshire, has even been recognized by the Royal Society of the Protection of Birds for their contribution to improving the environment of an opencast mining site, which in turn, has benefited a mass amount of wildlife in the area. Benjamin K. Sovacool, director of the Danish Center for Energy Technology, conducted a meta-analysis on aviation mortality rate. The study looked at the mortality rate found amongst birds when presented with various forms of energy production sites in their environment (wind power, nuclear power, fossil fuels, etc.)
By looking at a wide variety of general causes of death amongst birds, Sovacool was able to draw some conclusions on avian mortality. Sovacool found that wind farms do indeed result in the death of various species of birds. Although the demise of these creatures is a truly terrible thing, in comparison with other forms of generating power, such as nuclear power, wind power is at the bottom of the totem pole. Both wind power and nuclear power are responsible for the death of about .3 and .4 deaths per hour, according to Sovacool’s research. When compared to the death rate of fossil fuel plants, with 5.18 every hour, it seems that the problem with bird mortality rate is far more alarming in our current methods of harnessing power. Various other sources suggest that anywhere between 20,000 and 573,000 per year, which again, is very minimal compared to other causes of aviation deaths. Such causes as collisions of buildings and feral cats produced a higher mortality rate when compared with wind farms. The Royal Society of the Protection of Birds concluded that key to lowering aviation mortality rate is the placement of the wind turbines and farms. By allowing time to be taken in order to study the wind and flight patterns, the mortality rate of birds is not at a significant level concerning wind power.
Bats have also been an area of controversy associated with wind power. The main problem lies with the bats passing through low-pressure regions of the wind turbines. In April 2009, the Bat and Wind Energy Cooperative took an interest in this problem and announced a 73% decrease in bat deaths when the wind turbine were shut down during low wind conditions, when bats are most active. In 2013 an estimate was drawn that 600,000 bats were killed in the year 2012, the largest amount occurring in the Appalachian Mountains. This is a fairly large amount of bats, which has drawn some concern from many bat enthusiasts.
Wind power has both its supporters and its deniers. As far as this argument is concerned, the US currently receives less than 10% of its total power from wind power. Wind farms have been constructed, and continue to be constructed, from great open plains to the world’s oceans. The information shows that these giants are here to stay and will continue to adapt and improve as a clean method of providing energy to our world.
Wind Farms in Pennsylvania
In the commonwealth of Pennsylvania, there are more than 20 wind power operations currently in affect. Mountain and coastal terrains are proven to be, on an environmental standpoint, the most productive areas for wind power. The Appalachian chain, which generally consists of most of Southwestern Pennsylvania, consists of the highest potential wind energy capabilities in the eastern United States. Areas in Central and Northeastern Pennsylvania also provide some of the best wind power capabilities in the region. As of 2010, Pennsylvania ranks 15th in the nation for wind power production. The current wind farms in operations are capable of powering nearly 390,000 homes. This seems like a staggering amount of homes, but is still less than 1% of the states electricity consumption.
In the year 2007, Montgomery County became the first wind-powered county in the nation. During a two-year commitment, the county purchased 100% of its electricity from both wind energy and renewable energy facilities derived from wind energy.
The town of Swarthmore, Pennsylvania was honored in 2009 as a green power community, which happened to be the only one in the eastern United States. Some of largest wind farm facilities in PA include, Allegheny Ridge Wind Farm, Armenia Mountain Wind Farm, Twin Ridges Wind Farm and the Mehoopany Wind Farm.
Pennsylvania has the capability of installing to 3,300 MW (megawatt) of onshore wind power facilities. Although Pennsylvania as a limitation with no ocean property capable of constructing multiple wind farms, Lake Erie has the capability of installing up to 5,670 offshore wind turbines.
Offshore Wind Farms
As technology inside the wind power universe advanced, the placement of wind farms began to expand into offshore locations. Winds generated from large bodies of water supply perfect conditions for maximum power output from the wind turbines. The world’s first offshore wind farm was constructed in Denmark in 1991. Europe and the UK are the current leaders of offshore wind power farms.
The first step in the conception of accessing wind power on offshore locations was the process of floating and retaining the wind turbines in a large body of water. Professor William E. Heronemus, from the University of Massachusetts Amherst, first introduced the idea of constructing an offshore wind farm in 1972. It wasn’t untill the mid-1990s when on land wind farms began to build their creditability and their popularity grew, that the idea of offshore wind farms began to gain a following. Blue H Technologies of the Netherlands operated the world’s first offshore floating turbine in 2008. The turbine was a prototype design that was used to gain data on the wind and sea conditions. The prototype was disassembled later that year.
The prototype used a form of anchoring offshore turbines known as tension-leg platform design. The tension-leg platform is often used for the production of offshore oil and gas mining. The platform, which in this case contains the actual turbine, is anchored to seabed anchors located at the bottom of the body of water. The platform is anchored using tethers, or tendons, which are attached to the platforms corners. The use of tension-leg platforms is rather inexpensive and mobile, for they are assembled onshore.
In 2009 the world’s first operational, offshore wind turbine, known as Hywind, was constructed and placed in the North Sea near Norway. Siemans Wind Power constructed the 2.3-megawatt turbine using a float tower design. The turbine was anchored to the ocean floor in a similar fashion as the Blue H prototype, using a spur buoy. The spur buoy is a tall, cylindrical structure that will float upright in a large body of water. Hywind was mounted to the spur buoy and was anchored using three seabody anchors known as a ballasted catenary layout.
Another form of floating offshore wind turbines is the WindFloat system. The entire structure is constructed on land and then wet-towed to the desired location. The platform of the structure is constructed on three, water entrapment columns, which are connected together in a triangle fashion. The wind turbine is then attached to one of the three columns, which are anchored to the seabed using a catenary mooing system. Each of the three columns are filled with water which is dispersed amongst the three columns based on which way the wind is blowing and how far the structure is rocking in the water. This helps with sustaining the structure, allowing it to not be affected by wave and wind conditions, providing maximum energy production. Various design concepts are currently being investigated, as they may prove to be potential designs of the future. Such problems as the weight of the structures, cost and complexity of the turbines are currently being assessed and improved for the future.
My Journey Continued
After uncovering the history of Turkey Hill and the application of wind power, I was eager to learn more about the Turkey Point Wind Project, Turkey Hill and LCSWMA. I set off through the Lancaster County countryside towards my desired destination. Through the blinding, fall morning sun the turbines began to get closer and closer until I had finally arrived at LCSWMA’s Rieber House Welcome Center. Kathryn Sandoe, communications manager for LCSWMA, greeted me. After exchanging hellos I learned that Kathryn was a former grad of Millersville University and I felt in good hands. Geared with construction helmets, safety glasses and orange vests, we headed began our trek up to the turbines.
As we made our way towards the turbines I couldn’t help but notice that for a waste management authority, it didn’t smell like waste. Part of this is due to the integrated system of managing waste implemented by the waste authority, the other part is based on the type of waste the Frey Farm Landfill accepts, which is mainly construction/demolition and industrial waste.
Apart from the Frey Farm Landfill, LCSWMA owns and operates a waste-to-energy facility located in Bainbridge, Conoy Township. This waste-to-energy facility works by taking waste that is transported to the site and burning it in 3 combustion chamber boilers where the waste is turned into clean, renewable energy. The heat from the combustion chamber boils water, which in turn, produces steam. The steam then drives a turbine, which produces electricity that is sent to the local grid. Ash is produced through the combustion process, which is recycled for all metal residues and transferred to the Frey Farm Landfill where and is used as a conventional cover of waste on the site, which also plays a role in the control of the waste smell. The gas that is given off by this process is collected, filtered, and then cleaned before being released back into the environment.
Driving through the FreyLandfill exposed me to a wide variety of clean efforts being made by the authority. LCSWMA also takes part in turning landfill gas, given off by the natural decaying of waste, to energy system. Through a partnership with LCSWMA and PPL Renewable Energy, a plant was developed that converts methane gas into renewable energy. The waste is naturally decomposed into 50% methane gas and 50% carbon dioxide/water vapor. This gas is collected and transported through a series of pipes where water and major particulates are removed and turned into clean energy. Once again steam is produced through this process, which is piped and sent to the Turkey Hill Dairy. This process is responsible for offsetting more than 140,000 gallons of diesel fuel annually. This steam is then used to run Turkey Hill’s manufacturing process of their commercial boilers.
The benefits of installing the Landfill Gas-to-Energy plant hold an equality of planting 48,000 acres of forest per year, offsetting 45,000 railroad cars of coal, 45,000 cars from the road, or 400,000 barrels of oil. The sum of energy costs and renewable energy sources being made through this process are promoted proudly through the authority.
Turkey Hill’s Sustainable Efforts
As we made our way closer and closer, I couldn’t help but be intrigued by all of the other sustainable efforts that are also being made by the Turkey Hill Dairy, which is an extensively impressive list. For starters, the dairy features multiple wastewater treatment facilities. The project itself involves burning and collecting methane gas given off by the dairy’s anaerobic wastewater treatment facility. By doing this, the dairy is able to reduce its use of propane gas by 120,000 gallons of propane a year. Integrated in this process, Turkey Hill replaced chlorine gas as a disinfection chemical with UV equipment. By doing this, Turkey Hill was able to improve worker safety and reduced toxic chemical reporting.
Apart from the more technical sides of sustainability, Turkey Hill is also affiliated with good old-fashioned recycling. Maintaining an active recycling program, Turkey Hill has recycled in the past three years: 902 tons of cardboard, 305 tons of plastics, 130 tons of metals, 135 tons of paper, and 720,000 tons of food grade products. The dairy also features minor waste recycling streams that include: florescent lamps and ballast, batteries, and waste oil.
The Turkey Hill Dairy also takes part in the recycling of their products, such as: ice cream and dairy crate reduction. In 2007, Turkey Hill found a way to invest in a system that would capture and reclaim waste from the production of their products. This resulted in a one-third reduction of ice cream mix waste, elimination of using additional commodities to replace the waste and the transportation of heavy liquid to a disposal location. Turkey Hill also changed the structure of their transportation crates, allowing them to maintain their overall strength capabilities for the better. By removing .2 pounds of HPDE resin from the crates, Turkey Hill amounts to 40,000 pounds of resin annually. The half gallon containers of Turkey Hill products now has less than 22 grams of HDPE resin than their previous containers. This results in an annual quantity of 1,424,500 pounds. By using reusable totes for the transportation of fruit products, Turkey Hill has been able to save 135,000 pounds of plastic per year since 2008. The pails are sanitized and cleaned heavily before reuse.
The containing of transportation of the ice cream products has also been headed in the green direction of distribution. The ice cream lids, which were commonly plastic, were switched to paper in 2002. The result of this switch has resulted in saving 210,000 pounds of plastic per year. Apart from the paper lids, Turkey Hill has also made the switch to paper ice cream cartons. By also throwing paper cartons into the mix, Turkey Hill has saved 200,000 pounds of additional plastic annually. Even though plastic is way of saving money; Turkey Hill has made an on-going commitment to stick to their paper ways.
The Turkey Hill Dairy also participates in such endeavors as backhauling, local sourcing and vendor consolidation, and the adoption of LEAN processing principals. The act of backhauling involves hauling ingredients and packaging materials to the plant during return trips from deliveries to customers. This is done for the purpose of reducing the number of miles being spent on the road. The Turkey Hill dairy actively works with the sourcing of materials and packaging from local supporters, which also helps with reduction of miles being spent on the road. By teaming up with the LEAN processing principals, Turkey Hill focuses on locating and driving all waste out of our systems. Through this endeavor, the dairy is able to find more ways of increasing sustainability throughout the business and their products.
The Turkey Point Wind Project
After a brief drive and history lesson of the LCSWMA site we had finally reached the turbines. After years of observing and being truly baffled by their size I was standing right beneath them. Staring up at their massive size, I couldn’t help but feel so small and truly amazed at what it must of felt like to finish the construction of these sustainable giants. The Turkey Point Wind Project is the result of a three-way partnership between LCSWMA, Turkey Hill and PPL Renewable Energy. The TurkeyPoint Wind Project consists of two, 1.6 megawatt, wind-harnessing turbines. The turbines stand 262 ft tall and each blade is 131 ft in length, which were designed and constructed by GE. The turbines took about two weeks to construct and wind patterns were studied for two years prior to their construction. The turbines reside along the Susquehanna River, which supply ideal wind conditions for maximum output generation. The turbines are able to maneuver and adapt, by rotating, to harness the appropriate amount of wind that may be present on any particular day. The energy is transported to the Turkey Hill Dairy, which results in 25% of the dairy’s total power. These efforts have resulted in the green house gas reduction of about 5,900 tons. This is the equivalent to removing 1,000 cars of the road, decreasing the demand of foreign oil by 12,000 barrels or decreasing our nation’s gasoline consumption by 600,000 barrels.
Each turbine can be divvied and assembled in seven parts: the main base of the structure, the mid tower, the top tower, the nacelle, the hub and three blades. The generator below serves as the “drive train” that converts the energy into electricity. Wind power is generated by the spinning of the blades, which powers an electric generator, which is then sent directly to Turkey Hill via an undergroud connection. The turbines function at full power when the blades are spinning at 26 mph. The turbine blades are able feature a stopping mechanism called, feathering. Feathering allows the blades to lesson their speed and feature an automatic braking mechanism when the spinning speed reaches 56 mph.
After learning all I could about these turbines in the time that was allowed to me, I left feeling very educated and satisfied with my tour. It is really nice to know that I am currently living in an area that, although somewhat small, is making huge leaps towards a sustainable lifestyle. LCSWMA and Turkey Hill proved to be very open organizations that will answer any questions and supply tours to anyone who may be interested. These are companies that are based around supplying the upmost level of customer service and I highly recommend taking advantage of their openness and kindness. I truly enjoyed my experience on the Frey Farm site and would like to thank Kathyrn Sandoe for allowing me to experience a first hand look at a tour I will never forget.