Plans are in the works to double the number of Kruger Energy Company’s 44 wind turbines along the Lake Erie shoreline.
The Chatham Daily News learned Wednesday the Quebec- based company plans to submit its project expansion proposal to the Ontario Power Authority before November.
Jean Roy, Kruger’s vice-president of operations, said the current $270-million project will be fully operational by late September.
Roy, along with other top company officials, including vice-president Jacques Gauthier of Montreal, held a wind farm construction update and tour Wednesday for local media.
Both Roy and Gauthier are hopeful the company’s bid to double the size of the current project will be successful.
“We have the full support of area farmers and landowners,” said Gauthier.
He said the 44 giant wind turbines in the first phase of the project will produce enough electricity to power 30,000 to 40,000 homes when working at full capacity.
Seven of the 26 turbines currently in place are operational.
Construction foreman Remi Laforest said windy conditions have slowed installation of the made-in-Denmark turbines, which are spread over a 15-kilometre area along the lake shoreline in the Port Alma area.
A crane costing $80,000 a day sits idle in windy conditions.
The three 45 metre-long blades on each turbine rotate 17 times a minute. Power generated by the turbines goes underground to a collector line and then on to a sub-station and is then fed into the Ontario Hydro grid line along Highway 401.
Each turbine is capable of producing 2.35 megawatts of power.
Laforest said work is on schedule and, winds permitting, the installation will be completed by the end of September – a month ahead of the OPA requirement of Oct. 31.
The last of the 44 turbines from Denmark were delivered to the site in mid-July.
Removal of gravel areas around the turbines and reduction of the access roads from 10 metres to five metres is now taking place.
Each turbine includes a steel tower, a three blade rotor and a nacelle. The nacelle includes a gearbox and electrical generator as well as blade and turbine control equipment, wind speed and direction sensing equipment and cooling equipment.
Laforest said the components are located at the top of the supporting tower and are connected to the rotor by a main shaft.
The turbine blades are made of fiberglass reinforced epoxy and are manufactured by Siemens in a single operation.
The turbines rotate automatically and self-start when the wind reaches a minimum speed and shut down if the speed gets too high.
Laforest said the entire system can be controlled not only by the central control system south of Merlin, but also from Denmark and Houston, Tex.
A total of 110 workers, including several from Denmark, are involved in the installation of the turbines. When operational, the project will have 10 full-time employees.
By Bob Boughner
31 July 2008
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