Fowler Ridge Wind Farm, United States of America
Fowler Ridge Wind Farm (FRWF) is located in the Benton County, Indiana. Spread over 50,000 acres, it is one of the largest onshore wind farms in the world. The plant is owned and operated jointly by BP Alternative Energy North America and Dominion Resources with each having a 50% stake in it.
The FRWF has an installed capacity of 750MW, which meets the power consumption requirements of 200,000 average American homes. The wind farm is visible from both sides of Interstate 65 (IS-65).
Fowler Ridge is being built in three phases. Phase I, Fowler I, began in April 2008 and was completed a year later. Fowler I is located 90 miles (140km) north-west of Indianapolis. It can produce 400MW of carbon-free electricity, which lights 120,000 US homes. The Fowler I saves 720,000t of carbon dioxide a year.
The balance-of-plant (BOP) engineering and construction contract for Fowler I was awarded to Wind Connect in February 2008. Work included construction of roads and concrete and steel turbine foundations.
BP owns 99MW of the power generated by Fowler I and shares 301MW with Dominion.
Phase I provides 36 full-time working positions for monitoring and maintaining operations. It also offered 350 jobs during construction.
Phase II (Fowler II) is located on the west side of Phase I on a 17,000-acre site. Its construction began in June 2009 and was completed in January 2010.
Mortenson Construction was the prime contractor. The structural engineering services were provided by US-based HDR Engineering.
The second phase of FRWF produces 200MW of electricity and can meet the electricity consumption requirements of 50,000 US homes. The total cost incurred for the development of Phase II is $77.2m.
The third phase of the FRWF is expected to begin soon. It will produce 150MW of electricity, thereby making the total capacity of the farm up to 750MW. Phase III of the project will supply power to 30,000 US families.
Fowler I consists of 222 wind turbines supplied by RMT. The turbines installed include 182 Vestas turbines of 1.65MW and 40 Clipper 2.5MW turbines. The Vestas turbine is 80m tall and its rotor diameter is 81m. The height and rotor diameter of the Clipper turbines are 80m and 95m respectively.
Fowler II includes 133 GE SLE 1.5MW wind turbines, 345kV transmission lines and one 345kV project substation.
PJM grid network
The output power generated by the FRWF will be connected to the PJM grid network.
The transmission lines from the wind farm connect to those of American Electric Power near Montmorenci, Indiana, 25 miles south-east of the plant sub-stations.
About 200MW of Phase I is supplied to Dominion Energy Marketing, a subsidiary of Dominion Resources.
The remaining 200MW of Phase I output is sold to Indiana Michigan Power and Appalachian Power (100MW each), the subsidiaries of America Electric Power.
The 200MW power from Fowler II has been sold under four long-term contracts for 50MW each. Three contracts have been signed with the units of America Electric Power and one with Vectren Energy Delivery.
Indiana wind power market
The American Wind Energy Association has ranked Indiana as one of the top three fastest-growing states in generating wind power. The state has five wind farms that generate about 1,000MW. It has about 1,000 turbines. The state stands 13th in the US in terms of installed wind power capacity.
The wind farms in the state power about 250,000 homes.
In addition to Fowler Ridge wind farm, Benton County also houses Meadow Lake Wind Farm, which began its operations in 2009. This farm, owned by Horizon Wind Energy, has 121 turbines.