AUDUBON – Representatives with NextEra Energy Resources brought information and photographs to the Audubon County Supervisor meeting on Tuesday to help illustrate where the company was with the new wind turbine project planned for east of Audubon this year.
NextEra representatives Mike Weich, development project manager and Sarah Watson, local contact of the Audubon office; Bobby Barnett, construction manager and Jeff Damen, construction project manager were introduced.
Work on the project expected to begin in late July or early August, with the project set to wrap up by the end of the year.
“We want to get everyone home for Christmas,” said Damen, “That’s the plan.”
The company has nine other projects in Iowa, and said the Audubon area was a great location because there was still capacity available. About 48 turbines will be put in along with a transmission line.
During the presentation, Weich said the team was “at the end of the optimization part of the project,” adding, “We optimize right up to the last second.”
The substation and entrance roads need to be done early in the process, along with transmission lines, Damen said, because they needed to be in place when towers went up, so the towers could be connected to the grid and conditioned.
Construction of the turbines will happen later in the fall, because the project will use new turbine technology that is still in production and some of the elements will be coming in the fall.
The permitting for the windfarm is clear to start, and the company is waiting for the Iowa Utility Board, they have a hearing with the IUB set for June.
Regular site meetings – weekly, on site – are planned to go over the work as it goes along. The company is already looking at what they think will be some of the biggest concerns – dust and the speed traveled by trucks going to and from sites, for example, Barnett said they would be water to mitigate dust.
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