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Wind farm tower construction nears an end

By Staff | Sep 9, 2009

WIND FARM

Just a few wind towers remain to be assembled north of Rugby, but there is still work left to complete before Iberdrola’s 149.1-megawatt Rugby Wind Farm becomes operational later this year.

While crews have been busy erecting the 71 2.1-megawatt towers, another has been tasked with putting up the 9.5-mile, 230-kv transmission line that will eventually tie the tower-generated electricity to a substation just east of Rugby owned by Otter Tail Power.

From there, the power will go across a main line and get distributed to Iberdrola’s electricity buyers, one of them, Sioux Falls, S.D.-based Missouri River Energy Services.

Construction has been steady this summer in putting up the towers with little delay. Depending on wind conditions, a tower can be assembled and put up in a couple of days.

The 300-foot tall towers create quite a different look to the prairie landscape in northern Pierce County. They are clustered on both the north and south sides of N.D. Highway 17.

For about two and half months there were caravans of semi-tractor trailers bringing tower bases, blades, nacelles and other equipment to the construction site virtually every day. However, that truck traffic has dropped off considerably as the construction phase of the towers is nearing an end.

The wind farm will have the average annual capacity to provide electricity to approximately 45,000 homes.

It ranks as one of the largest wind farm projects in the state, according to the N.D. Public Service Commission.

Testing will begin this fall, with the farm to go on-line sometime in December.

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