September 12, 2006

Wind turbines growing west of county

People traveling west on Tracy Road in Spring Valley just past the city limits on the first hill in the country will spot a new crop growing in the distance – wind turbines.

About a dozen wind turbines are visible in spots with a clear view to areas southwest of Spring Valley in Bennington Township. They are part of a massive project in Mower County, where Florida Power & Light Energy, LLC, Juneau Branch, Fla., has leased approximately 6,240 acres, or approximately 9.75 square miles, for an alternative energy project. The wind turbines are also being placed in Lodi and Clayton townships.

The FPL Energy project will be built in two phases of 43 wind turbines each, stretching 12 miles on 31 leased parcels of land.

The 2.3 megawatt turbine rotors are 93 meters in diameter and weigh 132,000 pounds each. They will be mounted on towers rising 80 meters.

A total of 11.4 miles of service roads are being constructed to get access to the turbines in the Mower County countryside.

David Tenan, project coordinator, was at a recent Mower County Planning Commission meeting to get approval. As the various FPL Energy permits issued by Mower County have passed through the commission and then the Mower County Board of Commissioners, there has been no opposition, according to the Austin Daily Herald.

Tenan was at the recent meeting to get the commission’s endorsement for two more 50-meter meteorological towers to be constructed in Bennington and Lodi townships to measure the impact of winds blowing over the land and turning the huge blades of the turbines to create electrical energy.

According to the Herald, Tenan’s numbers point to something never seen before in Mower County. The only other construction project to rival this wind project, in terms of concrete used, is the construction of Interstate 90 across the county.

Using a spread footing, the foundations consume 16,000 cubic yards of concrete once all 43 are put in place.

The project coordinator told the commission that the entire electrical collection system will require 65 miles of cable.

The electrical transmission system will be 7.9 miles in length.

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