WILMONT - The Nobles 2 Wind Project has reached a major milestone as developer Tenaska completes its electrical interconnection study.
Tenaska Vice President of Strategic Development and Acquisition Scott Seier explained that the study is an essential step because it ensures that the facility can connect to the power grid. Construction cannot begin until the study verifies connections.
“We are excited about the progress we’ve made,” Seier said.
Construction on the wind farm is currently slated to begin late this summer. Tenaska will break from construction for the winter and resume work in May 2020, finishing work by that fall.
Following construction, Nobles 2 is planned to operate for 30 years. The wind farm will produce 260 MW of renewable power.
A megawatt (MW) represents 1 million watts of energy. The U.S. Department of Energy has calculated that 746 watts are equivalent to 1 horsepower. That ratio extrapolates to about 1,340.5 horsepower per 1 MW.
Producing that amount of energy requires many hands at work. Tenaska estimates that construction of Nobles 2 will provide about 230 jobs, many of which will be available to local laborers. After construction, the wind farm will need about 15 full-time employees to run day-to-day operations.
Tenaska has a reputation for contributing to local civic and community organizations in the places where it develops.
“We are looking forward to being part of the community,” Seier said.
Although Tenaska has committed to prioritizing local labor, Seier admitted that the third-party construction and engineering company that does the hiring will also need to find workers with the necessary skills to complete the project. Sometimes, he said, that means hiring from out of state for certain positions.
Worthington Director of Community Development and Planning Jason Brisson explained that any temporary workers who contribute to Nobles 2 construction could be put up in hotels, but there are not many permanent housing options for an incoming workforce.
If Tenaska experiences a limitation in housing for workers, it will be in good company with other major employers that want to attract young professionals to the area.
The city of Worthington is making efforts to expand housing availability, knowing that Tenaska and other companies have a vested interest in bringing a workforce to the region.