Several months into construction, 16 turbines stand several hundred feet in the air.
“We built pads, we put in 19 foundations through the spring and in the early summer we began erection. We’ve put up 16 of 19 wind turbines here,” said Peter Garrett, Project Superintendent at Reed & Reed Contractors.
The turbines at the Bull Hill wind project in Hancock County are the tallest in the state.
“The middle of that hub is 311 feet above us, so it’s further up than a football field,” described Garrett.
As you can imagine, it takes a pretty big crane to lift the blades and other parts of the turbine that high. Not to mention some of those pieces weigh more than 150,000 pounds.
Their crane was actually designed for wind turbines and the man operating it is somewhat of an expert. When this project is done, crane operator Ron Babb will have put up 199 turbines.
“You got to just handle it with kid gloves, be gentle with her. She’s got a lot of boom, things go a lot slower with a lot of boom in the crane,” said Babb.
Babb is one of hundreds of workers making First Wind’s project a reality this summer.
“We have cycled 450 people in and out of this project. At any given day there’s 90 to 120 working on site,” said Garrett.
The project is the result of a long term power purchase agreement with N Star Electric Company out of Massachusetts. But before the power goes out of state, it’s collected on site.
Director of Development at First Wind Dave Fowler explained, “Each individual wind turbine has a collection line, electrical collection line, that they all collect into an underground system that we have here and they come right here to the collection substation.”
The final three turbines of First Wind’s $76 million project are expected to be up in the next month.