The Winds of Change…
My initial encounter with the wind turbines at Blackburn Industrial Park in Gloucester, Massachusetts, was last November when the first of three turbines was already assembled and standing tall at Varian Semiconductor. I was amazed by its enormous size and thrilled with the ability to get so close to it. It was easy to feel dwarfed by this fascinating structure. I know I certainly did.
Some Stats and Facts
While reading up on these newly iconic structures, I discovered a few interesting stats and facts about them:
- The three wind turbines are worth an estimated $23 million.
- They arrived by boat from Germany.
- Blowers will generate 9 million kilowatt-hours of electricity
- When the winds are 7 mph or less, the Varian turbine will not operate for economic reasons; when the wind speed is 56 mph or greater, the turbine will shutdown for safety reasons.
The Many Views of the Wind Turbines
One thing I’ve noticed since the wind turbines were activated is that you never know where you’ll see them. As I go about my every day life, I’m continually surprised to suddenly spot them from an entirely new vantage point. Here are some examples…
Whenever I drive down Route 128 in either direction towards the Blackburn Circle rotary, I’m always awestruck by their appearance. They truly are tremendous, seemingly appearing out of nowhere.
If the wind has the turbines in action, I often find myself mesmerized by the steady rotation of their huge blades. There is something hypnotic about the spinning motion.
The parking lot at Gloucester Crossing gives you an entirely new vantage point to view the wind turbines. Being elevated allows you to look across Route 128 to Gloucester Engineering. Seeing the size of the wind turbine in relation to the building really gives you a relative perspective. It’s a great place to witness the arc of the blades in motion.
The first store you encounter to the left in the plaza is Petco. The blades of the wind turbines in the distance can make you look at the store twice, as an optical illusion makes the blades appear as if they are about to strike the store’s roof. You just have to stand at just the right angle to see it.
Drive a little bit further into the parking lot and you can see the blades’ perspective change over the roofline of the other shops.
Stage Fort Park
One place where the landscape definitely took on a new look is the view from Stage Fort Park. Look across the harbor to Stacy Boulevard and the Fisherman At The Wheel Statue and you will see all three wind turbines standing tall. Their modern design is quite the visual contrast to some of Gloucester’s more historic architecture.
Other Places to Spot The Turbines
Several North Shore residents (thank you Thelma Ryan) have been busy keeping notes whenever they spot the wind turbines from a new location. Sightings have included the following additional places:
- Marblehead Light/Crocker Park
- Plum Island
- Hampton Beach/Rye, NH
- Little Neck in Ipswich
- Merrimack River in Salisbury
- Over Our Lady of Good Voyage Church (Prospect Street, Gloucester)
- Dr. Smith’s Podiatry Office at 199 Main Street.
- Osman Babson Road from Washington Street
- Stop & Shop off Bass Avenue
- Wheeler’s Point, Riverside Road
- Essex Avenue towards the Boulevard
- Wingaersheek Beach
Two Fascinating Videos
While writing this article, I came across two incredible videos that are a must see. Definitely check them out!
Applied Materials – Varian Wind Turbine Time-Lapse Construction Video
Blade Inspector — What A Job!
If you happen to spot the wind turbines from another location other than the ones mentioned in this article, please post a comment and let me know. I’d love to add them to the list here.
Love ‘em or hate ‘em, the wind turbines are here to stay!
~ Liz Mackney