I had never been to Ishpeming before I stopped and took this photo. I had a full day of driving ahead of me so I didn’t plan to spend much time exploring the city for photos. Quickly enough while cruising the street I noticed the rainbow painted truck. Coincidentally, I had crossed paths with that truck several times the previous days while photographing around Marquette, Michigan. It almost felt like an omen that it would be parked out here, ready for me to finally photograph it.
But looming in the background was this other thing – a giant wind turbine. For an old city with abandoned mine shafts jutting out of the horizon, the vertical axis wind turbine seems oddly modern and sort of out of place. Alright. This is the photo I needed to take in Ishpeming.
I finally got around to doing some research about the turbine in fall of 2015. From my one day of research here is what I’ve gathered. The wind turbine was build as a prototype for a new line small scale green wind energy units in 2010, and shortly thereafter stopped working. The company that built it promised to replace the wind turbine with a newer and smaller model, the WIND•e20® by 2013. That project has been struck by set backs causing some disparity in opinion between the company and the people of Ishpeming about the turbine.
While reading up on this wind turbine, I also found video of a town meeting about it. I expected it to be a dry discussion about wind turbines in general, but what i got was a big heaping buttery popcorn tub of drama to watch. Notable quotes include “I’m an American, and this is an American made product!”, “You can roll your eyes all you want ma’am” and under-handily calling a guy a loser.
Sorry for your headaches Ishpeming. If it is any consolation, your wind turbine debacle did make for a fine photograph.