Big Blue Wind Farm to begin construction

The first commercial wind farm in Faribault County could begin construction this week. Officials from Faribault County and Jo Daviess Township received news Tuesday from Exergy Energy and the State of Minnesota during a pre-construction meeting that the Big Blue Wind Farm will begin construction as soon as possible.

“The meeting allows the county to find out a little more about the wind power project by sharing information and concerns,” state permit manager Larry Hartman says. Those in attendance received the final details about the 36- megawatt wind energy project potentially generating enough energy to power 20,000 houses over the course of a year.

A total of 18 wind turbines will be erected in a scattered pattern throughout the township. Lead project engineer Dustin Shively says this will lead to greater efficiency as opposed to a clustered layout of wind turbines.

“Some wind turbines, like cars, have a reputation of breaking down,” Shively says. “The Gamesa wind turbines we are putting up are top of the line, state of the art machines.”

From the base of the turbine to the tip of the blade, each turbine will reach 400 feet into the sky. To provide a solid base for these machines, 480 yards of concrete will be poured to anchor each turbine, requiring 40 trips of a standard sized concrete truck.

Project Manager Kyle Schmidt of Fagen Inc. says employees are being mobilized immediately to begin work as soon as possible. “We want to get most of the work done before the ground really freezes,” Schmidt says.

The project manager hopes to complete foundations and access roads during the first three to four weeks of the project. Foundations hope to be completed and backfilled six weeks into the project. Turbines will be delivered and completely erected by the middle of February depending on the quality of weather.

At peak man power, 45 employees will be working on the wind farm. “Seeing these nice days go by, I can’t wait to get started,” Schmidt says.

Sam Jefson,