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Summer Rayne Oakes Headshot

Journey to the Center of a Windmill

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In between doing some Planet Green events I've been filming for G Word, one of Discovery's new shows. Here's a recap on one of my favorite episodes. Stay tuned for some clips, bloopers, and the stuff Discovery doesn't want you to see!

About Me and "G" I guess they know I'm comfortable in the grit and the glamour because that is exactly what I'll be covering for G Word-a show about all the oddities and goodies of "green." You can watch me tackle ocean trash, dance on top of windmills, sniff out garbage, and plod through cow poo. Unfortunately I'm still waiting for the glamorous part of my job to kick in...

Summer Rayne and Ned Hall, President of AES Energy outside a windmill erection

"I imagine putting up a windmill is quite a big undertaking," I said to Ned Hall, President of AES Wind Energy. "Yes, very much so," he responded. "So when one is going up, do you notify the community that you are having a big erection?" Oh yes I did, I said it. Bam, Bam, Bam. (joke I got compliments of W. LaDuke)

Windmill in Abilene, TX

A windmill kisses the wind.

Journey to the Center of a Windmill Where: Abilene, TX--the "Friendly Frontier" of wind energy and the U.S. city with the most churches per square mile (as told to me by a Wiccan cab driver who picked us up from the airport).

What: Explore wind energy and what it means to us

Why: Because gas isn't cheap or green and wind seems like a cool, viable alternative

"It's kinetic art," Ned Hall, President of AES Wind Energy said to me as we looked out over the miles and miles of magnificent white wind turbines. The rotating blades were hypnotizing, leisurely spinning their 120ft arms in the wind. The blades may only turn 20 revolutions per minute, but the 20 mph winds were enough to whip our hard hats off as we craned our necks David-&-Goliath-style to ogle at the impressive structures that easily rival the Statue of Liberty in height.

The producers told me I'll be climbing to the top of the windmills. Ha! Good thing I didn't tell them I am terrified of heights until we were in the safety training. They seemed pretty pissed that I didn't let them in on that important tidbit of information beforehand. Hell, I didn't even know you could climb up the belly of a windmill. What's in there anyway? How does it convert wind to electricity? And what does it look like from the top of a turbine? I guess my curiosity totally outweighed my acrophobia, because I had a blast climbing to the top to salute the breeze.What can you do?

  • Call your energy supplier to find out if you can purchase environmentally-friendly energy alternatives like wind;
  • Like to play the stock market? Invest in wind energy companies;
  • Offset your travel emissions with accredited companies like Native Energy, which re-invests the money into wind energy projects
  • Get involved in the alternative energy revolution. Support or get involved in organizations like Energy Action, Green for All, 1 Sky, and others.
  • Sign up for Power Vote, whose goal is to get 1,000,000 young citizens supporting clean energy solutions, which will be unveiled at the next Powershift Feb 27-Mar 2 in Washington, D.C.

"I stand erected" These are the scenes Planet Green didn't want you to see...Coming soon...Coming soon. Coming soon.

Summer Rayne Oakes at windmill construction site

At a windmill construction site in Abilene, TX

Inside a windmill

This is how big they are!

Free energy: Sun and Wind!

Free, clean energy: Wind and Solar!

Line em up!

Line 'em up!

Energy Action, pin-up style

Energy Action, pin-up style

close up of summer rayne oakes with energy action pin

Yes, your eyes are not deceiving you. That is a Campus Climate Challenge pin.

Filming with Ned near the windmill construction sites

Filming at the wind turbine erection site.

250 ft windmill shaft

Shafted! Yah, I'm not just showing you this for posterity's sake. I actually climbed up this monster! 250 ft into the air on the belly of a windmill. How about that!?!

Top of the wind turbine

That's me in the top of the wind turbine, standing on the gears.

View from the top

And this is my view from the top...Prepare yourself...

View from the top, windmills

My view from the top! Windmills as far as the eye can see.

Windmill top

The answer is a resounding "YES!" I did get to hang over the edge of the windmill's nose.

Lovely view from the top of a turbine

Lovely view. Lovely view.