Some massive roadwork has begun in order to accommodate 76 wind turbines that MidAmerican Energy will be moving into Cass, Adair and Audubon counties.
Most of the roads being updated can now hold up to 20 tons; however, trucks carrying the turbine parts will weigh closer to 180 tons – around 360,000 pounds. The crane that assembles the turbines will need a 33-foot-wide pathway to move from site to site, and the roads now are only around 24 feet.
MidAmerican is paying for the upgrades and, according to Charles Marker, Cass County Engineer, helping out the local economy.
“They are buying concrete and material from local stores,” Marker said. “They are hiring local contractors to do the work.”
The state has put a sliding-scale tax abatement in place for wind turbines, but eventually they will add significantly to the tax base.
A turbine is a rotating machine that converts the kinetic energy in wind into mechanical energy. These turbines will be capable of producing up to 174.8 megawatts of power at any one time, and the power from them will be transmitted into MidAmerican’s new power lines crossing northern Cass County.
The towers are said to be approximately 415 feet tall at the tip of the rotor blade. The blades will be 150 feet long. The towers need to be set up at least three blade-widths apart, and the concrete footing holding each tower in place will need nearly 40 truckloads of concrete.
Invenergy will be starting construction on a 500-megawatt wind farm called the “Windy Hills” project in 2010. They have more than 40,000 acres of land under easement in Cass and Adair counties.
Invenergy will pay a minimum lease of $5,000 per turbine for the first year, compounded by a 2 percent increase each year, with a $2,000 construction bonus. MidAmerican Energy has a similar contract.
9 May 2008
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