After months of groundwork, the first of 83 wind turbines sprouted up last week as part of the Halkirk Wind project between Halkirk and Castor.
“Turbine delivery began on Monday, July 23, and will continue at a scheduled rate of two per day from Monday to Saturday,” said Michael Sheehan, the media-relations manager for Capital Power Corporation.
For each turbine 80-feet high, nine truckloads are required to deliver to each site the components of one nacelle, one hub, three blades and four tower sections.
In total, it’s expected 750 truckloads are required for the 150-megawatt project, which is estimated at $357 million.
Starting north of Halkirk, the work is scheduled to progress clockwise on sites on both sides of Highway 12, as components arrive over the next eight to 10 weeks.
Under the plan, trucks will travel west through Castor on Highway 12 to deliver the loads from Hardisty and Wilson Siding near Lethbridge, where the turbine components were stored.
“Two 600-tonne cranes have a 90-metre boom length (almost as a long as a Canadian Football League field) and the crane will stretch more than 150 metres into the air to gently place each of the pieces together like giant Lego,” Sheehan said.
Alongside those, a smaller crane will work in advance of the two larger cranes, installing the base (49 tonnes), the lower mid-section (35 tonnes) and the upper mid-section (43.5 tonnes), and the turbine’s top (28 tonnes).
The upper-mid and top sections of the tower, the nacelle, the hub and three blades are put into place with 600-tonne cranes.
About 80 people are projected to be working on the construction at the peak of the project.
When the wind farm is scheduled to start operation this December, the projection is about 12 full-time staff, including technicians, supervisors and administration.