The City of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, recently completed the Port of Milwaukee Wind Turbine project, which began in November 2011. The wind turbine is located next to the Port of Milwaukee‘s administration building, and is highly visible to commuters traveling by car or even high-speed ferry.

Photo courtesy Milwaukee Office of Environmental Sustainability

“We’re very pleased with the construction, we’re happy that it’s 100% made in the U.S. and that we’ve got Wisconsin manufacturers contributing parts to the turbine,” Matt Howard, the city’s Director of Environmental Sustainability said.

Milwaukee’s Office of Environmental Sustainability used their Facebook page  to inform the community about the project, with regular updates and multiple photos of the construction.

Northern Power Systems of Vermont sold the Northwind100 turbine to Milwaukee, and contracted with Bassett Mechanical of Kaukauna to build the tower. Other state contractors contributed components as well. Randy Faller owns Kettle View Renewable Energy, the company hired to install the Port turbine. Faller says his crew installs an increasing number of these mid-sized turbines.

“One of the most exciting parts about this project is that this tower was made by Bassett Mechanical in Kaukauna, Wisconsin. And it’s really the first tower made in Wisconsin, so it’s pretty exciting. The turbine itself traveled cross country from its manufacturer in Vermont, but they obtain a lot of their supply casting for the turbine itself from companies in Green Bay, in Waukesha and Milwaukee,” Faller said to local reporters.

Erected next to the Port Administration Building on Lake Michigan, the turbine is 120 feet tall to the nacelle, with the rotors reaching up to 154 feet at the highest point in their rotation, making it significantly larger than the small turbines that are on the grounds of Discovery World/Pier Wisconsin, but less than half the size of utility scale wind turbines that have been erected in Fond du Lac County and elsewhere around the state in recent years.

The $600,000 project was funded with ARRA stimulus money, as well as the state Focus on Energy program and WE Energies. The city’s goal was to create a symbol for clean energy in the city as well as to offset the energy costs associated with the Port headquarters building.

The Port turbine can produce up to 100kW of power and it is estimated that it will produce at least 109,000 kilowatt-hours annually. That would more than offset the Port Administration Building’s power use, which in 2010 was approximately 100,000 kWh. In the first six weeks of operation, the turbine produced 21,921 kWh, more than the amount that was required by the building it powers. The excess is sold to WE Energies.

You can view current wind conditions at the port’s administration building and energy production by clicking on this link.