By Kayla Barnes
TOWN OF SEYMOUR - After 12 years, Seymour Township outside of Shullsburg will soon be seeing wind turbines throughout the township.
According to EDP Renewables (EDPR) Project Manager, Josh Bohach, it will depend on the size of turbine they use to know exactly how many will be constructed.
“The project will be up to 98 megawatts and we will most likely be using 2 megawatt towers, which would be around 49 turbines,” Bohach stated.
The project started in 2004 when the first meteorological tower went up. Meteorological towers are constructed to about the same height as a turbine would be and measures wind data, speed and frequency, for at least a year or two.
“Right now we have started engineering things with land surveys, looking at civil and electrical designs and where the turbines would go.”
EDPR is looking at different portions of land that are under lease and analyzing the balance of the terrain. The turbines follow the high ground on just enough of a ridgeline to capture the wind. In the township, they are looking at following the line from the southwest corner to the northeast.
“The rest of 2016 we are working on development as well as studies that are associated with the project.”
By the fall and winter of 2016 there are plans to start construction, working on roads and driveways to the possible site of turbines. By the spring of 2017, turbines could be seen being trucked in.
“It usually takes 1 year, typically one growing season to build from a construction stand point.”
The turbine’s parts come from all over the world. It depends on which type of turbine that will be used but Bohach explained that the project he worked on in Kansas, the blades came from Spain and Mexico and the tower section came from another source overseas. The design will be determined later on in the process once a contractor is established.
“The community, from the beginning, has been supportive. The landowners have been supportive. There were some that were not interested and opted out and we respect that. We are essentially moving in as neighbors.”
Bohach stated that there are no plans to expand any more in the area on this project than is already established. Wind turbines are dependent on three main issues: wind resources, transmission lines and land compatibility. The land needs to be open range or pasture to be able to build a project. Trees, crops or wetlands are not ideal with the amounts of obstructions. They need transmission lines to interconnect with and to transfer the renewable energy made by the wind turbines to the customer.
For centuries wind turbines have been used to harness the winds power. The wind turbines then are not that different from now.
On top of each wind turbine is a box known as a nacelle. Attached to the nacelle are three propeller-like blades that connect to a rotor. Also on the nacelle is an anemometer to measure wind speed and direction. The wind direction rotates the nacelle to face into the wind. The energy in the wind turns the turbine blades around the rotor. The rotor connects to the main shaft, which turns inside the generator housing. Here, a magnetic rotor spins inside loops of cooper wire. This causes electrons inside the copper to flow creating electrical energy. The electricity generated then travels down large cables from the nacelle, through the tower, and into an underground cable. At wind farms, cables from different turbines take the electricity generated to a substation. A transmission line connects the electricity output at the substation to the electrical grid serving communities throughout the region.
The amount of energy produced by a wind turbine depends on several variables such as the wind resource and the size of the turbine. Bohach commented that the electrons made by the wind turbines would stay regionally.
“In regards to environmental impact, we welcome conversations with community members to discuss it. I am proud to work for this company because we look at our impact and do our due diligence.”
EDPR, headquarters in Madrid, Spain, has several thousand turbines all over the United States. They have projects from all over the east coast to Minnesota down to Texas. They are 3rd in the U.S. in megawatts and 3rd globally as well.
“We are really excited about this project. We have been developing this fantastic project for a long time. We are excited to move into the community.”