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Wind plant construction complete

By Staff | Dec 30, 2009

The construction and testing phases are over, and Iberdrola Renewables Rugby wind plant is in operation.

The $300 million project wrapped up construction late last month, according to Jan Johnson, Iberdrola spokesperson.

The wind plant has the capacity to generate 149 megawatts of electricity and presently is generating 40 MW to Missouri River Energy Services based in South Dakota. That is enough electricity to power nearly 11,000 homes, Johnson said. The company is in the process of securing other power purchase agreements.

Construction began in the fall of 2008 and included pouring the concrete foundations for about half of the wind towers as well as building service roads to each tower site.

Building the tower foundations resumed in the spring of 2009 and last June the tower bases and blades began arriving. The first tower was erected later that month and remaining ones were up by September. At the same time, contractors constructed the transmission line as well bored the and underground wiring from the towers to the kV line and then to Otter Tail Power Company substation just east of Rugby. Much of the fall was spent testing the towers and working out glitches before Wanzek Construction, the general contractor, turned over the plant to Iberdrola’s operation team.

Although there are wind plants across the state with more towers, Iberdrola’s Rugby project remains one of the biggest in terms of generating electricity. It also has some of the largest towers, spanning over 300 feet. All totaled, there are 71 2 MW towers that are clustered around N.D. Highway 17 in northern Pierce County.

Landowners who have lease agreements with Iberdrola receive payments, in part, based on the amount of electricity generated from the towers. A public dedication will be conducted in the spring, Johnson said.

Iberdorla Renewables is headquartered in Portland, Oregon and operates more than 3,500 MW of wind power in the U.S. alone. It employs more than 800 the U.S.

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