Fairfield – Flatbed trucks carrying sections of massive wind turbines have been spotted in recent days along local roadways, making their way to the towns of Fairfield and Norway where a wind farm is now starting to take shape.
And officials with the state Department of Transportation and international energy company behind the project, Iberdrola Renewables, answered questions from The Telegram on everything from transporting oversized turbines to a timetable for project completion.
Here is the wind farm project by the numbers:
The trucks transporting the wind turbines have in recent weeks traveled, in most cases, hundreds of miles along Interstate Highway 81 from Pennsylvania to Herkimer County.
The turbine tower sections were built in Wisconsin and then moved to Pennsylvania, where they are joined by other project components before heading north.
Some components have arrived on ships that land at Oswego Harbor, but, after being unloaded, even the pieces that arrived by water end up on I-81.
5 and 167:
From I-81, many trucks then head along sections of State Routes 5 and 167 for the final leg of their journey north to Herkimer County. Trucks have also passed across State Route 29 en route to the project staging area, or “laydown yard” on State Route 170 in the town of Fairfield.
The number of two-megawatt wind turbines, measuring 450-feet high including blade height, that will be built in the towns – 25 in Fairfield and 12 in Norway.
Two manufacturing plants in Pennsylvania, operated by international energy company Gamesa, contribute the energy-housing boxes that sit atop the turbine towers. All of the turbine components are compiled and purchased through Gamesa, which, like Iberdrola, has its headquarters in Spain.
Each oversized load arriving in Herkimer for the project must pay $60 for a permit from the DOT. There are at least 12 such loads per turbine that require the permit, which falls to $40 if obtained through the Albany DOT office. The project is paying the state an estimated between $17,000 to over $26,000 for the permits to move the large pieces of the turbines.
Company officials could not say if the permits fell under the $40 or $60 price range.
The company has agreed to a payment-in-lieu-of-taxes agreement that could generate an estimated $12 million over 20 years for taxing jurisdictions affected by the project.
The project has been announced as one of eight large scale electric generating projects that will receive a portion of $204 million in subsidies from the state government.
Another $96 million in state subsidies will be split by five clean-energy projects statewide, of which the Herkimer County project is included.
The amount each project receives will be based on a formula that takes into account energy generation. But state officials are yet to disclose the breakdown.
4 to 6 p.m.:
Transportation of the large pieces of turbines is prohibited between high-traffic periods, such as 4 to 6 p.m. and 7 to 9 a.m. There are some cases where larger loads have required lane closures, state police escorts and other traffic control devices.
The majority of turbine components are expected to be on site within five weeks.
The wind farm is anticipated to be generating power by the first month of 2011.
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