Wind turbine powers down in high winds

HASTINGS, Neb. (KSNB) Places that use wind turbines for power will have to rely on other sources of power as the winds pick up over the next few days.

Central Community College in Hastings uses wind energy to power 100 percent of their electrical needs throughout the campus.

But on days where winds reach 45 mph or more, the wind turbine just south of the campus is powered off to protect if from damage.

"It's all electronically controlled," said Bill Hitesman, CCC Hastings campus president. "The blades will pitch to the wind so that it's like a breaking system, and it will stop. So that protects the wind turbine at those times from a safety stand point. When it does that it's obviously not producing energy."

But Hitesman said that doesn't mean CCC will lose any power.

The agreement between the school and Hastings Utilities states that in these cases, CCC will get their power from the utilities department.

"The power doesn't stop just because the wind stops blowing. So because of the excess that we have, we get that back from them three or four months out of the year where that's the case. So they basically store the energy and we get it back as we need it," Hitesman said.

He said the turbine produces about 80 percent of their electrical needs during the summer months, but it's much more throughout the rest of the year.

Hitesman said they've been using the renewable energy source for a little over two years now, and all is going well so far.