Wind farm tower segments ready to go up at Glacier Hills

Posted on May 27, 2011. Filed under: Economic development, Jobs, Wind | Tags: , , |


From an article by Lyn Jerde in the Portage Daily Register:

TOWN OF SCOTT – How’s this for irony? The construction of the state’s largest wind energy facility is on hold, on account of wind.

The towers – the lower two components of them, anyway – were supposed to start piercing the skyline of northeastern Columbia County this week.

Instead, the components were, as of Thursday morning, lying on their sides, while the anemometers at the top of the cranes clocked wind speeds at about 40 mph. That’s about 15 mph too brisk for the safe construction of the towers.

It’s no surprise to Mike Strader of We Energies that breezes can get a tad gusty in these parts. That’s a key reason why We Energies is building the 90 turbine towers that will comprise Glacier Hills Wind Park on about farmland occupying about 17,300 acres in Columbia County’s towns of Randolph and Scott.

But, if the wind gusts to 25 mph or more, as it has all week, it’s not safe to erect the towers.

“What we can’t do is what we would love to do – put up those towers,” Strader said.

Starting Monday, plans had called for the arrival of the components of eight towers per day. The four segments of each tower would arrive, one at a time, from Manitowoc on trucks with about eight axles to distribute the weight evenly.

Many of the turbine blades have already arrived by rail from Colorado; most are being stored, for now, on a town of Courtland parcel approved by Columbia County’s planning and zoning committee as a temporary staging area for the Glacier Hills project.

We Energies spokeswoman Cathy Schulze said that, for the most part, gawking at the construction will be discouraged, for the safety of the public and the workers, and because much of the technology is proprietary.

But the curiosity is understandable, she said, and an open house Wednesday is intended to satisfy that curiosity.

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