May 8 - According to the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA), wind energy projects in the USA posted their strongest year ever - a total of 13,124 MW of power was brought online across 26 states and Puerto Rico.
Iowa's RPM Access (RPMA) - a developer of wind generation projects across the US Midwest - is a specialist in smaller wind project installations. It recently completed the Hawkeye Wind Farm in Fayette County, Iowa, using two Terex CC2800-1 crawler cranes. RPMA installed 15 wind turbines capable of powering 12,000 homes.
The rise of wind power projects is a double-edged sword for a small developer like RPMA. While the market for wind turbine erection is high, a limited supply of crane capacity makes scheduling projects difficult, and can create project bottlenecks.
According to Steve Dryden of RPMA "heavy lift contractors will typically complete the big jobs first", leaving the smaller projects like Hawkeye waiting for a crane to become available.
RPMA explained that efficiency is key to getting heavy lift cranes to a jobsite when needed. In November 2011 - in preparation for the wind tower installations - Nordex USA acted as a general contractor developing 6.8 km of access roads and laying 19 km of underground cables.
Crews then began pouring foundations for the 15 turbines. All necessary infrastructure was already in place at the Hawkeye jobsite prior to the arrival of the two Terex crawlers.
The 100 m turbines were erected at a rate of one every three days. Each turbine consisted of seven lifts: Five tower segments, a nacelle, and a blade and hub assembly. The cranes were configured differently so that they could operate in tandem to maximise the speed at which the wind towers were installed.