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  1. Project
29 March 2017

Rush Creek Wind Farm, Colorado

Construction of the Rush Creek wind project, the biggest single-phase wind generating facility in North America, is expected to commence in May 2017.
The Rush Creek wind farm will have an installed capacity of 600MW. Credit: Mortenson.
The wind turbines for the project will be manufactured at Vestas’ facilities located in Brighton, Pueblo and Windsor. Credit: Vestas.
The wind farm construction is expected to be completed in October 2018. Credit: Vestas.
Vestas will supply 300 V110 2.0MW wind turbines for the project. Credit: Vestas.

Construction of the Rush Creek wind project, the biggest single-phase wind generating facility in North America, is expected to commence in May 2017. To be located in Cheyenne, Elbert, Kit Carson and Lincoln counties in Colorado, US, the project will comprise two wind farms owned and operated by Xcel Energy (XEL). XEL is developing the project in association with Invenergy.

With an installed capacity of 600MW, the wind farm will produce adequate electricity to meet the needs of approximately 325,000 homes following the completion of construction in October 2018.

XEL submitted a planning application for the construction of the wind farm to the Colorado Public Utilities Commission (PUC) in May 2016 and received approval in September 2016.

The project is estimated to require a $1bn investment and expected to generate 350 jobs during construction. It will generate approximately $180m through landowner lease payments and property tax revenue to the counties. It will also help in eliminating roughly one million tons of carbon a year.

Rush Creek wind farm make-up

The Rush Creek wind farm will be spread across 95,000 acres of land in Elbert, Lincoln, Kit Carson and Cheyenne counties. It will be installed with 300 Vestas wind turbines.

Each turbine will have a hub height of 260ft and 180ft-long blades. The turbine installation will involve a number of steps, including setting three tower sections, attaching the hubs to nacelles, which house all of the generating components, setting the nacelles on top of the towers and attaching the blades.

The project will also include the construction of two electric substations and 83 miles of 345kV transmission lines that will have a 150ft-wide right-of-way.

“The wind farm will produce adequate electricity to meet the needs of approximately 325,000 homes following completion of construction in October 2018.”

The generated wind power will be transported from the turbines to the existing Missile Site substation.

Rush Creek wind farm construction

The road access works and substation construction at the wind farm site will begin in April 2017. The foundation works for the wind turbines are scheduled to commence in May 2017. The wind turbine installation is expected to begin immediately after the completion of turbine foundation works in February 2018.

Construction work for the transmission lines will commence with road access works and grading at the site of the Rush Creek I substation, located in Elbert County, in April 2017. The transmission structure setting work will begin in June 2017, while the conductor stringing works will commence by the end of 2017. All the construction works on the site are expected to be completed by October 2018.

Most of the structures used for the transmission line will be installed using direct embed foundations, which will involve driving the structures into the ground, while some of them will rest on top of concrete foundations. The structures will be put into place using cranes.

Contractors involved with the Rush Creek wind farm

Mortenson is the associate developer for the project. Mortenson was awarded a contract to deliver full engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) services for the Rush Creek wind farm in March 2017.

Vestas Wind Systems (VWS) was contracted in April 2016 to supply and install the turbines. Vestas will provide 300 V110 2.0MW wind turbines, which will be designed and manufactured at its facilities in Brighton, Pueblo and Windsor, Colorado.

Vaisala was appointed as the environmental consultant for the project.

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