Wind farm nearing completion

By Dave Gragg

Construction on 204-megawatt wind farm between House and Fort Sumner should be finished by the first of July. Actual operation should begin three weeks after that.
Crews are finished setting up almost half of the towers. Now that the foundations have been laid, a crane puts up the first two sections of the three-part towers.
After that, two sets of crane and cherry picker install the last piece of the tower, the nacelle, the nacelle roof and finally, the three-bladed rotor.
Rusty Hurt, FPL Energy project manager, said he was unsure of how tall the final crane is, but it stands over the 225-feet tower.
The cherry picker holds the lowest rotor blade to keep too much pressure from being put on it as the crane hoists the rotor to the nacelle.
Hurt said it is easy to lose perspective on just how big the towers actually are because of the size of the crane and cherry picker.
“One clue as to how big that cherry picker is, it has six axles under it,” he said.
It took 20 semi loads to bring in the crane and the company may have to bring in a third crane-picker pair to get the project completed on time, Hurt said.
Once the towers are completed, they will be connected to PNM’s main transmission line through substation that PNM is building, Hurt said.
Construction on that substation began before construction on the windmills, said PNM spokesman Don Brown. The $10 million project will increase the voltage of the electricity before it joins on to PNM’s transmission line.
Each tower has weather-measuring equipment that turns the rotors into the wind and pitches the blades for maximum performance, Hurt said.
Every six towers are connected via underground cable that runs to an overhead power line that runs to the PNM substation.
The completed facility will be the third-largest wind generation farm in the world.