Strong Winds Affect LES, Capital City Refuse

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Stronger than average winds across parts of the state had an effect on businesses around Lincoln.

With northwest wind gusts between 40 to 50 miles per hour Tuesday, Capital City Refuse says it's windy days that make their job tough.

"Today is probably the worst day to haul trash, even over cold weather or rainy weather, because you end up chasing half of the stuff that comes out of your trash cans and it just makes for a longer day," says Capital City Refuse Owner, Seth Harms.

Harms says even the strongest won't keep them from doing their job.

"Whenever somebody pulls up to their neighborhood, or pulls up to their house and sees trash everywhere, it's pretty much our name that's out there," he said.

Capital City says at least 1 out of every 15 trash cans goes missing on windy days, and replacing them isn't cheap. The company replaces cans for customers free of charge.

"They're about $70 a piece so every time one goes missing, it's not the best thing," said Harms.

Lincoln Electric System wind turbines worked overtime Tuesday as wind gusts reached 40 to 50 miles per hour. LES uses turbines to extract energy from the wind to produce electricity. It may be hard to believe, but with only two turbines working at maximum output, they produce enough energy to power more than 1,000 homes. But too much wind can actually hurt their services.

The minimum wind speed for turbines to produce electricity is around 9 miles per hour, but if winds exceed 56 miles per hour, they actually stop running the turbines to avoid damaging the machine. Luckily, LES says between 9 and 56 miles hour, there is a happy medium.

"In between that range there's enough energy in the wind that turbines can extract their maximum amount of power and that maximum extraction is in the 30 mile per hour range," said LES Vice President of Power Supply, Jason Fortik.