Blue Creek Wind Farm, Ohio, United States of America
Blue Creek Wind Farm is an onshore wind farm located in Van Wert and Paulding Counties, north-west Ohio, US. With an installed capacity of 304MW, it is the largest wind-based power station in its state. The wind project was completed at a cost of $600m in March 2012. It will begin commercial operation within few months.
The wind farm will generate clean electricity to power about 76,000 houses per annum. It is estimated to eliminate the emission of 1.6 billion lbs of carbon dioxide a year, which is equivalent to taking 114,000 cars off the road.
The facility will be owned and operated by Blue Creek Wind Farm, a limited liability company owned by Iberdrola Renewables, a wholly owned subsidiary of Iberdrola.
Background of the Blue Creek wind power facility
The project development began in fall 2006. A diligence study was conducted in the project area in the second half of 2008 to assess the potential environmental and regulatory constraints.
Land and land rights necessary for the installation of wind turbines were acquired between March 2007 and November 2009. Wildlife studies were undertaken between February 2009 and November 2009 to evaluate the environmental and ecological issues.
Meteorological towers were installed in September 2007 to scientifically examine the wind resource. More towers of this kind were put up in early 2009 to broaden the study.
The Blue Creek Wind Farm project was approved for construction by the Ohio Power Siting Board (OPSB) in August 2010 and the construction started one month later.
Details of the Blue Creek wind energy plant
The overall area of the Blue Creek wind-powered electric generation project is approximately 40,500 acres. The project area is covers the towns of Hoaglin, Tully and Union in Van Wert County, and the towns of Benton, Blue Creek, and Latty in Paulding County.
The wind farm consists of 152 Gamesa G90 wind turbine generators (WTG) of 2MW each. These have been installed on 27,000 acres of privately owned land in the two counties.
Each WTG is fitted on the top of a monopole tubular steel tower measuring 100m in height. The overall height of the entire setup, including the blade length (approximately 44m when straight up), is about 144m. Around 60 truck-loads of concrete and 54t of steel rebar were used to build each foundation.
Infrastructure associated with the wind farm includes an electric collection system, collection substations, an interconnection substation, an operation and maintenance (O&M) building, meteorological facilities and gravel access roads.
The electric collection system, consisting of underground cables and above-ground lines, is installed to collect energy produced by all the WTGs. From there, the gathered power is transferred to the collection substations and finally to the electric transmission grid.
Construction on the project started in September 2010 and was completed in March 2012. The project created 180 (man-hours) construction jobs and 20 full-time jobs. More than 500 people worked during the peak construction period.
Gamesa turbines for the Blue Creek wind farm
Gamesa G90-2MW WTGs have a rotor diameter of 90m. Rotor's swept area is 6,362m2 and its rotational speed varies between 9rpm and 19rpm. It weighs approximately 36t.
The turbine features three blades, each measuring 44m in length. Each blade weighs 5.8t and is made of pre-impregnated epoxy glass fibre and carbon fibre.
Contractors and suppliers of Ohio wind power facility
Lake Winds Energy Park is an onshore wind farm being built in southern Mason County in Michigan, US.
Iberdrola Renewables took care of the construction management, O&M, site assessment and development, and wind assessment. The wind turbine generators and associated components were supplied by Gamesa.
The general contractor for balance-of-plant (BOP) was Blattner Energy. PAR Electrical was the electrical contractor, while Dashiell Corp provided the electrical interconnections. The electrical system and substation were designed by Ulteig. Fibre installation was done by FiberNext.
Wortman Bros was the contractor for the O&M building. Electrical work inside the building was carried out by Sidney Electric.
CH2M Hill acted as the environmental consultant for the project. Engineering for the access roads was provided by Westwood Professional Services.
Other contractors and suppliers for the project included Stoneco, WEST, Hite Plumbing, Irving Concrete, Young's Waste Services, Sioux Falls Tower, Shelly, JB Steel, Sioux Falls Tower and HICO America.