Assembly of the machine will initially take place in Tehachapi. Two to three turbines will be put together each week, says Gates. In the future, they will be assembled elsewhere, perhaps even in the Upper Great Plains. "It's made in the US -- that's important to the US industry," says Gates. The three-bladed upwind turbine, unveiled at the Windpower '94 conference last month, is easy to maintain, says Gates. He points out that Zond has 12-13 years of field experience with nine models of turbines over more than ten years. The turbine's soft brake, although more expensive up front, should pay off over 15 years, says Gates. Airfoils are designed by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, the drive-train is integrated, and the tower is lattice or tapered tubular. The blades are resistant to the effects of surface roughness degradation. The rotor design also uses both active and passive aerodynamic control for optimisation of power and torque, as well as for providing reliable and effective overspeed control in high winds.
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