Several farm fields south and east of Beattie are taking on an additional role as sites for the Marshall Wind Farm, an electricity-generating facility under construction by BHE Renewables of Omaha. Thirty-six wind turbines are being erected.
Here are a few questions answered by Debora Blume, director of communications for MidAmerican Energy Company, spokesperson for the local wind farm project:
1. What is happening at the Marshall Wind Farm site now?
Turbine erection activities are in progress. On the skyline you see two cranes, one smaller crane to erect the base and lower-mid tower sections, and a taller crane to set the top tower section, nacelle (generator) and three blades.
2. How long will it take to erect the towers and turbines and when will the farm start operating?
Each crane needs approximately a day to perform its work on each turbine. Once the tower is erected it takes approximately four days to complete the internal work. We recently finished the internal work on the first turbine. All of the turbines are scheduled to be completed by April 30.
3. Where will the wind-generated energy go once operations begin?
Marshall Wind has four power purchase agreements in place with regional off-takers. Energy from Marshall is sold to the Kansas Municipal Energy Agency, city of Independence, Mo., Kansas Power Pool and Missouri Joint Municipal Electric Utility Commission.
4. How big are the turbines?
The turbines at Marshall are 95 meters (312 feet) to the rotor with 54-meter (177 feet) blades. In general, wind turbine towers are getting taller to take advantage of the higher wind speed at higher altitudes.
5. Are any local contractors working on certain aspects of the farm?
All major construction contracts are secured through national contractors due to their technical expertise. Local contractors have been — and continue to be — used in supporting roles to deliver a successful project.
6. How many trucks has it taken to deliver all the components to the farm in recent weeks?
Each turbine is delivered by nine trucks, which gives a total of 324 truckloads to complete turbine deliveries. These trucks are making trips from the Vestas manufacturing facilities in Colorado.
7. How many landowners are leasing land for the project and how many acres are in the farm’s footprint?
There are 37 landowners and approximately 6,600 acres that make up the Marshall Wind Farm. It should be noted that each turbine uses less than an acre of land, including the access road.
8. How many workers does it take to put up these 36 turbines?
For a timely completion of the project there are approximately 110 people working at Marshall. This number changes as the project moves through different construction phases.
9. Any other details about progress on the project?
Once a wind farm is built, the wind provides a free and abundant source of energy.