One of the largest urban wind towers in North America is expected to save $500,000 a year in energy costs and generate up to 10 percent of electricity for Lincoln Electric’s main manufacturing plant
Lincoln Electric, the world leader in the design, development and manufacture of arc welding products, has long been a major supplier to the wind tower fabrication industry. This year, the company has stepped further into the world of renewable energy by building a wind tower on the grounds of its world headquarters and manufacturing campus in Euclid, Ohio, just east of downtown Cleveland.
The tower, measuring 443 feet tall from base to the tip of its blades, is nearly as tall as a 45-story building. The 2.5 megawatt turbine is expected to generate up to 10 percent of the energy used for Lincoln Electric’s main plant in Euclid and save the company up to $500,000 a year in energy costs. The structure, one of the largest urban wind towers in North America, evolved out of a strategic partnership between Lincoln Electric and the Great Lakes Energy Development Task Force.
Aimed at creating a viable market for renewable energy in Northeast Ohio, the Task Force is a successful model of private/public collaboration. Its members include the Cleveland Foundation, Case Western Reserve University, the City of Cleveland, Cuyahoga County, the Fund for Our Economic Future through Nortech, the Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority and the Generation Foundation.
Since 2008, Lincoln Electric and the Task Force have worked diligently to make the tower a reality, pursuing leading turbine manufacturer Kenersys® of Germany to develop the tower’s power generation components and Katana Summit® of Columbus, Neb., a long-time Lincoln Electric customer, to manufacture the tower’s “can” segments. The turbine’s three glass fiber reinforced polymer blades were produced in Poland by LM Windpower®. Lincoln Electric broke ground in March, and actual tower erection began in June.
“The tower represents important cost savings, as well as our commitment to integrating renewable energy sources, among other ongoing green initiatives, into our manufacturing processes,” says George Blankenship, president, Lincoln Electric North America. “It stands as a visible symbol of Lincoln Electric’s commitment to the wind tower industry by showcasing the benefits our welding solutions offer to a prominent, fast-growing business segment.”
Key facts about the project:
- Measures 443 feet tall from the tower base to the tip of the blade
- Features three blades, each measuring 164 feet from the center of the hub to the blade tip
- Has 595 cubic yards of concrete in the foundation base and pedestal
- Contains 65 tons of reinforced steel rebar in the base/pedestal
- The 2.5 megawatt turbine is capable of producing enough energy to power 686 homes
A portion of funding for the $5.9 million project came from a $350,000 loan from Cuyahoga County, while another $1.125 million in funds came from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 via a State Energy Program Grant from the Ohio Department of Development and the U.S. Department of Energy. Lincoln Electric funded the remainder of the cost. The company, however, credits the assistance of the local, state and federal governments with making this landmark project a reality.
“I’m also very proud of the hard work of the members of our internal team. We took the project on as a challenge,” Blankenship says. “We’re a can-do organization and always look for creative solutions.”