If you’re near Decorah, you can always tell which direction the wind is blowing if you look for the Luther College wind turbine. The turbine blades are always facing the wind. Recently, I was fortunate to get an up close look at the iconic structure that sits high on the bluff just west of the city on a tour led by Jay Uthoff, Luther’s Director of Facilities Services. As you drive up the gravel path, you start to sense how tall the wind turbine reaches above. As soon as we got out of the vans, you could hear the deep whoosh of the enormous blades cutting through the wind and the mechanical yaw of the nacelle turning ever so slightly to follow the direction of the wind.
With our hard hats in place, our group gathered at the base to hear Jay proudly describe the construction process, the physics of it’s electrical production, and the work of many Luther employees and local community members to make the turbine a reality in the Fall of 2011. As I stood in the flicker of the shade from the blades on top of the bluff, I looked around with a sense of gratitude. The people of Northeast Iowa, with a deep rooted tradition of farmland conservation, concern for our waterways, recycling, and taking care of our natural resources, have been working toward living here sustainably, long before it was a popular trend.
For all the facts about the turbine’s power production, local wind maps, and details about the wind turbine construction go to: