Local News

May 10, 2013 2:59 PM by Meteorologist Matt Terhune

Papalote Wind Turbines Can Take A Hurricane

TAFT - There are more than 200 wind turbines in the Coastal Bend.

These wind turbines take advantage of the natural science here in one of the windiest places in America.

This wind farm can produce 380 megawatts of power, enough to power approximately 114,000 homes a day.

Wind speed stronger than 5 miles per hour starts these blades moving.

But what will they do when a tropical storm or hurricane hits the Coastal Bend?

The wind turbines have a computer on board. It takes the wind blades and turns them in the direction of the wind, which will actually stop them.

Todd Harrison is the Papalote Creek Wind Farm Supervisor says, "We have seen these turbines handle, you know, direct winds at a 140-plus miles per hour and it was an instant wind gust, and they survived it extremely well."

When the wind speeds hit 53 miles per hour, the computer that runs the turbines turns the blades, which stops the spinning.

Todd Harrison says, "The wind has just as much ability to stop the turbine as it has to make it go. You know, the stronger the winds are with the blades pitched flat, it's not going to want to spin. You might have a little minor movement, but not much."

If for some reason the blades cannot tilt, the wind turbines do have a large emergency brake to stop the spinning.

Here's the map in San Patricio County that shows where wind turbines are located.

Papalote Wind Farm MAP

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