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Nobles Wind Farm remains on schedule

File Photo: Workers prepare to lift a rotor onto an awaiting tower north of Rushmore Monday afternoon. Of the 134 wind turbines in the Nobles Wind Farm, 75 have been completely erected. The project is expected to be completed by early December. (Julie Buntjer/Daily Globe)

WORTHINGTON -- More than half of the 134 wind turbines in the new Nobles Wind Farm are fully erected, and developer enXco says the project is on track for an early December completion.

On Monday, Xcel Energy's project manager Rick Halet said the project has been going well.

"We hope to have all of the turbines up and running in early December," Halet said. So far, 75 turbines are completely erected with the tower, cell and rotor in place. Of those, 40 are fully commissioned and synchronized to the grid.

Construction on the 201-megawatt wind farm began in early April. The more than $500 million project, once it's completed, will generate enough electricity to serve approximately 66,500 homes. While enXco developed and is constructing the project, it will transfer to Northern States Power Co. of Minnesota, an Xcel Energy company, after all of the towers are in operation.

Halet said some of the turbines that have been synchronized to the grid are already operating.

"From about now on, we'll be starting them and running them as they're ready to go," he said. "We're starting up by Reading and north of Reading, and then that works its way down to I-90."

The project moves west from there and then back to the north. All of the turbines are located within Olney, Dewald, Larkin and Summit Lake townships.

Though the number of employees working on the project varies depending on the stage of construction, Halet said there are currently 200 people working on the wind farm. They work during daylight hours, five to six days a week, depending on the wind speed. If wind gusts are greater than 22 miles per hour at the top of the crane, Hallet noted, they have to shut down.

Three cranes are working to get the last of the cells and rotors in place on the towers, and the weather has cooperated nicely in recent weeks.

"There's been some working in the mud, but we're still on schedule," he said.

Since the project is expected to be completed in December, Halet said a dedication of the wind farm will be delayed until next spring.

Julie Buntjer
Julie Buntjer joined the Daily Globe newsroom in December 2003, after working more than nine years for weekly newspapers. A native of Worthington and graduate of Worthington High School, then-Worthington Community College and South Dakota State University, she has a bachelor's degree in agriculture journalism. At the Daily Globe, Julie covers the agricultural beat, as well as Nobles County government, watersheds, community news and feature stories. In her spare time, she enjoys needlework (cross-stitch and hardanger embroidery), reading, travel, fishing and spending time with family. Find more of her stories of farm life, family and various other tidbits at www.farmbleat.areavoices.com.
(507) 376-7330
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