Windmills for the Neosho Ridge Wind electric-generation project are going up, and builders say they are on schedule to complete the project by the end of the year.
Development Manager Juliana Pianelli with Apex Clean Energy, Inc., said the project will be fully operational by the end of the year. The project is planned to generate up to 300 megawatts of electricity in the southeast portion of Neosho County.
Neosho Ridge Wind uses two different models of wind turbines. The Vestas V110 has a height of 394 feet from the ground to the hub and 177-foot blades, and generates two megawatts per windmill. The V120 has a height of 400 feet to the hub and 193.5-foot blades and generates 2.2 MW.
The blades have “shark teeth” along the trailing edge of certain sections which vary from three to 10 inches in length. They are constructed of a soft, pliable plastic and builders expect they will reduce the aerodynamic sound and increase the annual energy production by 2 to 4 percent.
Depending on weather and construction scheduling, crews can erect two windmills at a time, with two primary cranes to allow this pace. It takes four to five days to put up each of the 139 windmills, subject to weather conditions and component delivery schedules. Components are made all over the world and those used in Neosho County come from manufacturers in the US, Southeast Asia and South America.
Pianelli said the coronavirus has impacted the anticipated component delivery schedule, but the team has been able to absorb delays without overall problems for the project’s schedule.
Another obstacle Neosho Ridge Wind faced was a lawsuit filed in July 2019 by landowners who did not lease sites for the project and opposed its construction. The suit was originally filed in Neosho County District Court by 44 plaintiffs, but it was later moved to federal court.
Pianelli said a judge dismissed the suit without prejudice on June 11 after the parties reached a confidential settlement agreement. In legal terms, dismissal without prejudice means the plaintiffs can refile the case or bring a new suit on the same grounds.
The site currently has 71 employees. On average, crews are broken up by skills into 10-member teams to work on each turbine.
Builders expect to energize the substation on July 14, and windmills will be commissioned at that time. Once the windmills are commissioned, collection circuits are completed, and all proper approvals are secured, the project will push electricity to the grid.