Thirty-six wind turbines are scheduled to be built 23 miles south of Lamar beginning this spring. Mark Stacy, the director for Iberdrola Renewables LLC, told the Prowers Journal that roadwork east of Highway 287 is expected to begin in April. “Our operations and management building will go up in March and our central location will be at the intersection of CR 12 and CR K,” he stated. The new turbines will be constructed on the east side of Highway 287, east of the Colorado Green turbine complex. There are 108 turbines in the general vicinity, east and west of the highway that have been in operation for about ten years.
Stacy briefed the Prowers County Commissioners this past December to provide an update on the Twin Buttes ll project which has been in planning stages as far back as April, 2015 when a permit for construction was granted following a public hearing. The land has been zoned as A-2 non-irrigated and as that area has already been a site for past wind turbine development, no alterations for the 11,000 acres were needed. “We’ll develop our road system and following that, construction crews will begin laying the concrete foundations to hold the turbines and lay out the electrical infrastructure to connect them to the existing grid,” he added. The project time has the foundation excavations underway by May and the turbines are expected to arrive in July. Stacy said the project should be concluded by November of this year.
“These turbines will be slightly larger than the ones that are currently on site,” he said, explaining that there will be a mix of 2.1 and 2.0 megawatt turbines at the site to develop the expected 76 megawatt output the turbines will produce. The new turbines will have a hub height of 262 feet and a rotor diameter of 374 feet for the blades.
“We’re hiring a general contractor for the project and they will sub-contract for portions of the construction,” he said. “We expect to have as many as 150 employees on site during the peak portion of the project and once that’s completed, there will be a need for five full-time positions to maintain the turbines for as long as they’re in operation.” Stacy explained these wind technicians will have training needed for the job as well as to be able to work at the height of the turbines.
The county and City of Lamar should experience a welcomed economic shot in the arm, similar to the one that came with the construction of the original turbine complex. The construction workers rented houses, apartments or motel rooms while the project was underway, and with that was the local purchase of fuel, food and other necessary items during the life of the project. Depending on the number of construction workers coming to the area for the Highway 287/Main Street Renovation project beginning this spring, there may be a surplus of workers versus the number of available motel rooms, especially through the summer tourist season. Stacy said the project managers are conferring with local CDOT officials to coordinate any transportation problems that could arise while road construction is underway.
By Russ Baldwin
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