Representatives from Cordelio Power and Tenaska met with Audrain County commissioners on Thursday to discuss the next phase of the 400 megawatt Firebrick wind project.
Cordelio acquired the wind farm project from Omaha-based Tenaska in late February for an undisclosed amount. Tenaska continues to play a role under a development services agreement between the two energy firms.
“It’s typical for developers to bring in partners,” said Bob Ramaekers, vice president of development for Tenaska, which completed the land acquisition process for 100 to 200 turbines last September. “We went through a rigorous process to bring in Cordelio.”
The Canadian renewable energy company will now take the lead in the engineering and environmental studies phase of the project. Of primary concern are the flight pattern of bats populating the region, as well as bald eagle surveys, in order to mitigate the impact of turbines on wildlife.
Environmental studies will ramp up as spring arrives. Cordelio will also be completing documents required by the FAA to coordinate with aircraft flight paths.
“There’s a pretty detailed process,” Ramaekers noted.
Because some of this work can take up to a year to complete, Ramaekers said construction on the turbines would most likely begin in the summer of 2023 and could extend into 2025.
Engineering decisions will also be made during this phase, which will include establishing the height of towers. The wind turbines can reach as high as 120 meters.
The meeting was called to introduce Cordelio to the commissioners, who had been working with Tenaska since 2019. Due to COVID-19 related restrictions in Canada, the company’s representatives met via conference call.
“All the work they’ve done with the landowners is consistent with how we would develop a project,” Cordelio land and communication manager Stephanie Bond said, referring to Tenaska.
Eastern District Commissioner Alan Winders sought assurances the scope of construction and other approved project details would go on without significant changes.
“Is it fair to say it shouldn’t affect anything?” he asked, noting the transfer of ownership.
Tenaska will still be involved, although the timeline will now be set by Cordelio and environmental impact reports. Both companies insist the project will move forward as planned.
Cordelio owns and manages renewable power generation projects in Canada and the U.S. The second phase of the Audrain County project received approval last week.
“We’re at the end of the beginning,” observed Presiding Commissioner Steve Hobbs.
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