Turbine Construction Begins at OK Wind Project

MONDAY, MAY 11, 2020

Recently, development company Mortenson (Minneapolis) began turbine construction at the 248.2-megawatt King Plains Wind Project in Garber, Oklahoma.

The project is headed by energy services company ENGIE North America (Houston), who is reported to have over 2 GW of renewable projects throughout in the United States and Canada.

About King Plains

While Engie started developing King Plains in mid-2016, the company didn’t select Mortenson as the engineering, procurement and construction contractor until 2019. Following the selection, Mortenson began mobilizing for the project that September in Garfield County, Oklahoma.

According to Windpower, Oklahoma has an installed wind capacity of 8,172 MW with 1,415 MW under construction, ranking it third in the nation for installed wind capacity and second for total wind energy generation.

Once mobilized, the team started building access roads, a lay-down yard, collection system and various foundations. By December, the team was reportedly working on the project’s substation and O&M building.

Slated to be completed by September of this year, the wind project will be comprised of 88 2.82 MW general electric turbines over a span of approximately 60 square miles. Power Engineering reports that once completed, property taxes regarding the King Plains site will total nearly $50 million during its 30-year lifespan.

During peak turbine construction, the project is estimated to have 200-250 people employed onsite.

“We are excited to be constructing another project for Engie and glad to be back in Oklahoma adding more wind energy capacity to the State,” said Tim Maag, Vice President and General Manager of Mortenson’s Wind Energy team.

“Before King Plains, Mortenson constructed two projects for ENGIE in Kansas,” Maag added.

Currently, Mortenson is also working on the 300 MW Prairie Hill wind project in Limestone County, Texas. This project is also headed by Engie and has a parallel construction schedule to King Plains.

Mortenson and Other Wind Projects

Mortenson’s first Oklahoma wind project was constructed in 2003 and produced 74 MW of energy. Since then, the company has been reported to erect 667 turbines generating 1,264 MW in the state.

In June 2019, the company announced a partnership with tech startup Built Robotics (San Francisco) to automate some of the construction company’s equipment. At the time, Eric Sellman, vice president and general manager for heavy civil construction, noted that Mortenson specifically faces labor shortages in its renewable energy division.

That year, the companies are started with roughly 10 machines on three wind projects, specifically focusing on excavations for turbine foundations. Plans were intended to expand accordingly.

By September, Mortenson was named by Xcel Energy as the company to spearhead work on a $743 million, 500-megawatt wind farm in Colorado’s Eastern Plains. The wind project is in alignment with Colorado Gov. Jared Polis’ recently released plan for having the state run on 100% renewable electricity by 2040.

Scheduled to reach competition by Dec. 31 of this year, the Cheyenne Ridge Wind Project will cover roughly 100,000 acres across Cheyenne and Kit Carson counties. 202-V120 and 27-V110 turbine are to be manufactured by Vestas.

More recent projects not contracted by Mortenson include the Dogger Bank Wind Farms, a joint venture between SSE Renewables (Dublin, Ireland) and Equinor (Stavanger, Norway), which recently kicked off in February. The project is slated to become the world’s largest offshore windfarm.

The 3.6-gigawatt farm is made up of three smaller farms in the North Sea near the coastal village of Ulrome, East Riding of Yorkshire, England: Creyke Beck A (1.2GW), Creyke Beck B (1.2GW) and Teesside A (1.2GW).

Boulder, Colorado-based renewable energy company Scout Clean Energy also announced in February that it was planning to build as many as 212 turbines for a new wind farm south of the Tri-Cities in Washington. If constructed, the Horse Heaven Wind Farm is slated to generate roughly 600 MW.


Tagged categories: Construction; Energy efficiency; NA; North America; Ongoing projects; Power; Power; Program/Project Management; Project Management; Wind Farm; Wind Towers

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