Article

Ice, snow delay wind farm debut

...the Smoky Hills wind farm, which was slated this week to start delivering electricity spun from the prairie wind, likely will not deliver any electricity until January, a delay caused by the severe winter storm that set in more than a week ago. "Needless to say, the ice storm and snow last week really threw everything to a grinding halt," said Frank Constanza, senior vice president of corporate development at TradeWind Energy, which is developing the 250 megawatt wind farm in Lincoln County. "We're at the mercy of the elements." ...In early November, the huge crane that erects the towers was toppled by high winds.

The weather giveth, and the weather taketh away.

And so it is that the Smoky Hills wind farm, which was slated this week to start delivering electricity spun from the prairie wind, likely will not deliver any electricity until January, a delay caused by the severe winter storm that set in more than a week ago.

"Needless to say, the ice storm and snow last week really threw everything to a grinding halt," said Frank Constanza, senior vice president of corporate development at TradeWind Energy, which is developing the 250 megawatt wind farm in Lincoln County. "We're at the mercy of the elements."

The wind farm will provide power to several utilities. Sunflower Electric, based in Hays, has a contract to buy half the wind farm's production. Midwest Energy, also based in Hays, and Kansas City Board of Public Utilities, also are in line to acquire a share of the electricity.

Midwest Energy is providing the interconnection that links the wind farm to the electric grid. Work on the switch yard was nearing completion when the ice storm hit, downing power lines and snapping utility poles in a wide east-to-west swath through south and central Kansas.

"(Midwest Energy) is focused, as they should... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

The weather giveth, and the weather taketh away.

And so it is that the Smoky Hills wind farm, which was slated this week to start delivering electricity spun from the prairie wind, likely will not deliver any electricity until January, a delay caused by the severe winter storm that set in more than a week ago.

"Needless to say, the ice storm and snow last week really threw everything to a grinding halt," said Frank Constanza, senior vice president of corporate development at TradeWind Energy, which is developing the 250 megawatt wind farm in Lincoln County. "We're at the mercy of the elements."

The wind farm will provide power to several utilities. Sunflower Electric, based in Hays, has a contract to buy half the wind farm's production. Midwest Energy, also based in Hays, and Kansas City Board of Public Utilities, also are in line to acquire a share of the electricity.

Midwest Energy is providing the interconnection that links the wind farm to the electric grid. Work on the switch yard was nearing completion when the ice storm hit, downing power lines and snapping utility poles in a wide east-to-west swath through south and central Kansas.

"(Midwest Energy) is focused, as they should be, with getting their customers back online," Constanza said. "If the weather cooperates, there's a very good chance we'd have all the towers erected in January and be in full operation."

Bob Helm, a spokesman for Midwest Energy, agreed.

"We're thinking now maybe mid- to late January, depending on how everything works," he said.

Utilities that take the wind power will use it to displace power they are currently generating using natural gas, or buying from other utilities. With natural gas prices around $8 per thousand cubic feet, electricity from natural gas generators costs about 8 cents per kilowatt/hour; wind-generated electricity costs about half that.

The 10,000-acre wind farm is being built in two phases. When the first phase is finished, it will have 56 wind turbines -- 260-foot-tall towers with a three-bladed turbine that in turn measures 260 feet across.

In early November, the huge crane that erects the towers was toppled by high winds. That crane has been replaced by an even larger one -- a Manitowac 18,000, one of the largest crawler cranes in the world. According to the company's Web site, it can be equipped to handle loads of more than 700 tons and lifts of more than 300 feet.


Reporter Duane Schrag can be reached at 822-1422 or by e-mail at dschrag@salina.com.

 


Source: http://www.saljournal.com/r...

DEC 20 2007
http://www.windaction.org/posts/12467-ice-snow-delay-wind-farm-debut
back to top