Updated: If I Don’t Get The Answer To The “Why Aren’t The Windmills Spinning All The Time” Question I May Go Postal


The following information is from Rick Johnson, Varian’s Facility Manager.
When winds at 7 miles per hour or less, the Varian turbine will not operate for economic reasons; when the wind speed is 56 miles an hour or greater, the turbine will shutdown for safety reasons.
“economic reasons” is incorrect. The turbine will not spin unless the wind is maintained at more than 3.0 meters/second (6.7 mph).
• The Varian turbine has also been down for the six week maintenance inspection that occurred a couple weeks back.
• We are also experiencing trouble with a couple of relays that are killing power to the turbine. We had service here last Thursday and yesterday working on the issue.
• The turbine can also be down due to icing being detected on the blades. It causes an imbalance and shuts the turbine down until ice is no longer detected.


I just assume there is a logical reason that the windmills aren’t always spinning on days when there is wind but for many folks it drives them up a wall.

What drives me up a wall is not that they aren’t all spinning all the time on windy days but what drives me up a wall is the people who constantly question why the windmills aren’t  spinning all the time on windy days.

To my thinking, the people that spent the money, time and energy to get the windmills erected obviously want to generate as much power as they can from them.  That’s a logical assumption, right?

So why would anyone complain when they are not spinning as if there is some conspiracy theory as to why they aren’t spinning?  Do you really think the people that put up the money to build them are trying to withhold the generation of power from them for some reason?

One of these people is someone I may or may not be related to through marriage who asks the question every time we pass a windmill that isn’t spinning.

Another is one of my lobstermen who looks out the office window every day and gives me the update on how many are spinning on any given day.

So please, anyone with real inside knowledge as to why they don’t spin all the time when there is wind can you please enlighten me so the next time we pass one that isn’t spinning I can give the correct response to the conspiracy theorists out there who constantly harp on about it.

I’m not looking for guesses from ordinary citizens like myself.  I’d really like someone from Varian, Gloucester Engineering or the iron workers union who actually knows the factual answer to why they aren’t spinning when there would be enough wind to turn them to enlighten us.

Please and thank you.

signed- Joey C

Mary Barker Gloucester Engineering Windmill Pics

Hi Joey,
I am sure you are inundated with windmill photos, but I took these this
evening (11.23).  I only had my little point and shoot camera, but it did ok
capturing the windmill being built now.  I thought it was great that they
have a stand with markers for people to use to sign the blades.  Amazing to
get up close to one of the 45 meter blades.  And to think this one is
smaller than the one at Varian.
M.A. Barker

Mayor Kirk Forwards Blade Signing Celebration Info


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Gloucester to Host Wind Energy “Blade Signing” Ceremony

New turbines are expected to save the City millions in energy costs

(Gloucester, MA) – The City of Gloucester will host a “blade signing” ceremony on Friday, November 16 at 10 a.m. The event marks the installation of two wind turbines located on the Gloucester Engineering site, at 11 Dory Road inside Blackburn Industrial Park. The turbines are being built as part of a 25-year agreement with Equity Industrial Turbines, which is expected to save the City of Gloucester a minimum of $11 million dollars over the life of the contract.

“Gloucester residents will benefit from our abundant supply of wind power” said Mayor Caroyln A Kirk, “For the first time, green energy will be used to provide power to city buildings including seven schools, public safety buildings, and water and sewer treatment plants. This change will result in substantial fiscal benefits for our city and make Gloucester one of the greenest communities in Massachusetts.”

Mayor Kirk will be joined at the event by the Gloucester City Council, the chairman of the Gloucester Planning Board, the Director of the Green Communities Division of the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources, the Executive Director of the Energy Consumers Alliance of New England and Mass Energy, the Mass. Municipal Association, and representatives from Gloucester Engineering, Equity Industrial Turbines, and the local residents. All who attend will be invited to sign their name on the turbine’s blades.

The City anticipates the energy savings realized will be used to support a new joint public safety building and improvements to local schools.

About the City of Gloucester

America’s oldest seaport, the City of Gloucester is known throughout the world as an authentic, working waterfront community, a place of spectacular natural beauty, and home to a diverse population of about 30,000 residents. An important center for the fishing industry, Gloucester also is proud of its rich art heritage as one of the premier art colonies in the United States. The city also is a destination for thousands of visitors who visit the harbor and its beaches during the summertime. In recent years, Gloucester has been diversifying its traditional maritime economy, adding leading small research institutions such as the UMass Amherst Large Pelagics Research Laboratory and the Ocean Alliance to the array of state and federal agencies working in the city, and with investments in robotics and new product development from the fishery.

The Turbine Now That It’s Up Poll

When I first heard of the turbine coming to Gloucester I was angry.   I felt as though it was only going to benefit one company, the company that was installing it and the money to pay for it was money that taxpayers subsidized and that most of these green energy projects are simply advertising vehicles reaching out to liberal tree-huggers who would buy any thing at any cost as long as you slapped the  “It’s Green” sticker on it.

I let our Ed Collard and Sarah Kelly take opposing editorial views in a post before hand and I was still skeptical. View That Post Here-

Anti Windmill vs Pro Windmill Two GMG Contributors Express Their Views- Sarah Kelly and Ed Collard

Then I read Mayor Kirk’s editorial in the Gloucester Daily Times in which she stated that the City of Gloucester would “conservatively” have 90% of it’s energy needs paid for by the partnership and that number would be conservatively $450,000 per year.

Read that post here-

Chickity Check It! Matyor Kirk Says City Will Conservatively Save $450,000 Per Year In Energy Costs

Posted on October 14, 2012 by 

With that huge savings for the taxpayers of Gloucester my mind was changed.  Now with the Varian one erected, looking at it doesn’t bother me at all.  I mean not in the least.  I actually think it looks kinda cool.

Now if we look back a year from when the thing kicks off and see that the City only gets a tiny fraction of what it think’s it’s going to get I will be supremely pissed and feel duped and I’ll rail against every phoney baloney green energy claim that comes down the pike but I’m going to be cautiously optimistic that we will indeed provide those savings.

Now that the Turbine is up and you can see what it looks like on the horizon and you know what we know about the projected savings would you say that the turbines at Varian and Gloucester Engineering are a good thing or not?

Please vote in the new poll-

On our last poll in which we asked if the City of Gloucester would get more or less that $450K in Energy Savings over two thirds of voters chose under.

I’m more optimistic and I hope Mayor Kirk  once the energy audit from the first year comes out gets to say  “IN YOUR FACE!” to all the doubters and we get well over $450,000 per year in energy savings.

It’s Gloucester Engineering’s Turn- Turbine Install Photos From Pat Morss- Varian and Gloucester Engineering

Joey:  I wanted to contribute a few photos to the extensive documentation of the installation of the Varian and Gloucester Engineering wind turbines.  Best, Pat Morss

Way Up High- Setting The Hub And More Gloucester MA Varian’s Turbine Erection From Steve Spencer! Exclusive To GMG

Steve Spencer Has Been Sending These Photos Of Every Phase of The Construction Of Varian’s Turbine


Open turbine view of Gloucester-


Face of the hub to the ground-


The Naked Blades From Fred Bodin


At Cruiseport Gloucester, almost everything is off the barge, except for three 160 foot long wind turbine blades. In the foreground are conical tower sections.


The blades will be offloaded later today or tomorrow. Trucking them up to Blackburn Industrial Park will be quite a sight to see.

Wind Turbine — Land Delivery Description and Photos From Fred Bodin


Fred writes-

Getting ready behind the Cruiseport. I’ve learned that offloading a mega cargo like this takes a long, long time. The cylinder is part of the turbine tower, and it is made of steel.



Now they’re towing the same tower section around the corner to it’s new location. Glad I’m not driving.


Finally onto Rogers Street, not easy but they did it. Professionals!

Video: The Three CEOs: Explanations Of How The Turbine Will be Constructed and More

Mayor Kirk speaks with Baldwin Crane CEO Mark Baldwin and Varian Director of Facilities Rick Johnson. Mark Baldwin has some nice things to say about Sheree Delornezo, owner and operator of Cruiseport, Gloucester.


First Picture- Wind Turbines En Route To Gloucester

· See attached pictures of the wind turbine components being loaded yesterday in Wismar, Germany.
· The boat left the harbor yesterday and is off to Belgium for a one day stop to load more cargo on it’s way to the US.
· The vessel is due in Boston on Monday 10/8.
· It will be off loaded onto a barge and the barge is due at Cruiseport Gloucester on Monday 10/15.  Then transported to the site (Varian) that week.
· The crane will begin to be erected next Wednesday 10/3.  There will be ~60 truckloads of components for the crane.
· The tower base is scheduled to be installed on 10/19.
· Full erection activities begin on 10/22.
· Grid interconnection “witness” testing is scheduled for 11/19.


Windmill On The Harbor

You’ve got to be kidding me.

Liberals won’t fight it because it would look like they weren’t  “green”

Conservatives won’t fight it because it goes against them being in support of business.

So it looks like we will end up with huge visual pollution on the waterfront.

A 250 foot tall windmill right down in the inner harbor is going to look ridiculous, lol.

This from the same company that stopped carrying lobsters at their supermarkets because they called it inhumane to hold them in tight quarters (or something ridiculous along those lines)

Whole Foods Bans Sale of Live Lobsters

Is a two million dollar windmill really going to pay for itself?  Or is Gloucester going to be used in a green marketing campaign to show the rest of the country that Whole Foods Is a green company even though it doesn’t make financial sense.  Judging by what they did with press releases during the ridiculous banning of the sale of lobsters because they don’t like them being kept in tight quarters, I fear it’s more about marketing and less about the real financial or green impacts of the ginormous (it’s a real word now) visual pollution that will be erected and loom over our harbor.

You gotta give them credit though, if they give the fishermen a payout we will surely end up with this thing stuck up our ass.

Why should we even have building codes with height restrictions?  250 feet in the air is what, seven times higher than the current building codes at that location?  Fuck it, we might as well build high rises while we’re at it.

Kudos to the Whole Foods Marketing Team- they’re no dummies.

Windmill Pad At The Blue Sky Farm

All the time that I’ve knwn about the windmill that was going in at the Blue Sky Farm I thought it would be generating electricity.

It’s actually for water. Under the big manhole there is a well. 

Windmill Pad At The Blue Sky Farm Construction, originally uploaded by captjoe06.