No quixotic effort here: A wind turbine on the South Side

September 28, 2011

My kids teased me in 2005 for going to Holland and not photographing the windmills. They had a point. But the streets, architecture and canals of urban Amsterdam captured my attention.

So I made up for it and it only took me six years. A few days ago, I took them to see a kind of a wind mill--and one that is a lot closer to home: the wind turbine at the Testa Produce facility at 46th and Racine. The complex is a feast of renewable energy and green technology, including solar panels, vegitated green roofs, and that iconic 20-story (when a blade is at twelve o'clock) wind turbine. The 750-kilowatt turbine generates 30 percent of the building's power. The facility and the turbine made their debut last May.

And seeing that bad boy spin is an impressive sight.

The Testa turbine isn't the only one in town. The Illinois Institute of Technology this year erected an 8 kilowatt wind turbine on its campus near 31st and the Metra Rock Island train tracks. Here's a video of the university's unveiling, but the best part comes at the 11:30 mark when the ribbon gets cut and the turbine starts whirling.