Iberdrola Renewables invested approximately $600m in the Blue Creek Wind Farm. Credit: Nyttend / Wiki Commons.

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 the state. The wind project was completed at a cost of $600m in March 2012 and started commercial operation in June 2012.

The wind farm generates clean electricity to power approximately 76,000 houses a year. The wind farm eliminates the emission of 1.6 billion pounds of carbon dioxide a year, which is equivalent to taking 114,000 cars off the road.

The facility is 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 late 2006. A diligence study was conducted in the project area in the second half of 2008 to assess the potential environmental and regulatory constraints.

The necessary land and land rights 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.

In September 2007, meteorological towers were installed 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.

Blue Creek wind energy plant details

The overall area of the Blue Creek wind-powered electric generation project is approximately 40,500 acres. The project area covers the towns of Hoaglin, Tully and Union in Van Wert County, as well as 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 approximately 144m. A total of 60 truck-loads of concrete and 54t of steel rebar were used to build each foundation.

Infrastructure associated with the wind energy project 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.

"The Blue Creek Wind Farm project was approved for construction by the OPSB in August 2010."

The project construction started in September 2010 and was completed in March 2012. The project created 180 construction jobs and 20 full-time jobs. More than 500 people worked during the peak construction period.

The generated power is being sold under long-term power purchase agreements (PPA) to Ohio State University (50MW) and to FirstEnergy (100MW). T American Municipal Power (AMP) is purchasing 52.16MW from the project under a separate PPA.

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.

Blue Creek contractors

Iberdrola Renewables was responsible for construction management, wind assessment, O&M, and site assessment and development. 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.

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