Two of three sections erected for wind turbine at Mesalands

Chelle Delaney

Two main sections of the 1.5 Megawatt wind turbine tower were installed Sunday for the wind energy program at Mesalands Community College.

“What I find most fascinating is just the shear size of all the components from the construction equipment up to the tower itself,” said Lane Bradley of Tucumcari, a member of the inaugural wind energy technology class at Mesalands’ North American Wind Research and Training Center.

Installation of the tower, that will stand about 400 feet when all its components are assembled, brought onlookers throughout Saturday and Sunday.

But those who stopped by the south 11th Street site to catch any of action on Saturday had to wait until Sunday because of the wind. The winds may be just 10 mph near ground level, but higher up the wind speeds are stronger. So for safety sake in working the tall cranes used for installation, Saturday’s plans were scrapped, said Jim Morgan, Mesalands director of technology.

On Sunday installation began early with the base installed by 9 a.m.; the mid-section was attached by early afternoon.

Construction is expected to continue on Tuesday, said Tracy Rascoe, director of the Wind Energy Technology program at Mesalands.

But Tuesday’s assembly will depend on the weather and the outcome of a required test of the sealant between the base and mid-section, Rascoe said.

Installation of the turbine from GE is the first phase of putting in place the equipment needed to establish
NAWRTC at Mesalands. The purchase is possible because of funds received from
the State of New Mexico totaling $2,101,697, according to college officials.