The 470MW Flat Ridge 2 Wind Farm is situated about 43 miles southwest of Wichita in south-central Kansas, US. It is owned jointly by BP Wind Energy and Sempra US Gas & Power, and operated by BP Wind Energy. The $800m wind farm began commercial operations in December 2012.
Claimed as the state’s largest wind farm, the Flat Ridge 2 was constructed on a 66,000-acre site that covers parts of Barber, Harper, Kingman and the Sumner Counties. It follows the completion of the 50MW Flat Ridge 1 wind farm in 2009.
The electricity generated by the Flat Ridge 2 is enough to power around 140,000 homes in the US, on average. More than 500 workers were employed during the construction and 30 permanent workers were employed for monitoring and maintaining the wind farm.
The facility was initially planned for a capacity of 419MW but later expanded by 51MW. It features 294 GE 1.6-100 turbines with a capacity of 1.6MW each, having a hub height of 213ft and rotor diameter of 271ft.
The Flat Ridge 2 wind farm was jointly funded by BP and Sempra. BP holds 50% stake in the project, while Sempra holds the remaining.
Energy generated by the facility is delivered through a new 46-mile generation tie line connecting to an existing 345kV transmission line in Sumner county.
Blattner initially deployed a 42-mile single circuit 345kV steel monopole transmission line provided with direct embed and drilled pier foundations. The company, in addition, built two 345kV substations with capacitor banks and an 18-acre two-ring bus expandable switchyard facility for the 51MW expansion project.
Under the long-term power purchase agreements, Associated Electric Cooperative receives 310MW of the energy generated by the facility, American Electric Power’s subsidiary Southwestern Electric Power Company receives 109MW and Arkansas Electric Cooperative Corp receives the remaining. The generated power will be exported to Missouri, Arkansas and Louisiana.
The 1.6-100 turbine, having a gross capacity factor of 53% at 7.5m/s, helps wind developers to gain greater energy capture and better project economics. The three-blade, upwind, horizontal axis turbine has greater blade length and uses carbon fibre.
The turbines generate low noise and offer higher annual energy production and a higher capacit. It also features WindSCADA control system.
The turbines for the Flat Ridge 2 wind farm were supplied by GE as part of a contract signed in October 2011. The $750m worth five-year wind turbine supply and maintenance contract was meant for two wind farms – the 144MW Mehoopany Wind Farm in Pennsylvania, which features GE’s 1.6-82.5 technology and the Flat Ridge 2 facility. These two projects represent a combined investment of around $1bn by BP and Sempra.
A local consulting firm in Wichita provided geotechnical services for the project. Minnesota-based engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contractor Blattner Energy was awarded the construction contract. Blattner’s scope of work included right-of-way clearing, spotting, framing, stringing, drilling, civil work, setting, sagging and clipping of the line.
Siemens Energy has secured a contract from Portland General Electric Company to supply wind turbines for the 267MW Tucannon River wind power plant in the US.
UK-based oil and gas company BP announced that it will withdraw plans to sell its US wind farm business after a four month search failed to attract the right bid for the company.
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