Thunderhead wind farm construction to begin next week

The first steps in the construction of Antelope County’s fifth wind farm are slated to begin next week.
At Tuesday’s meeting of the Antelope County Commissioners, Thunderhead Wind Farm Construction Manager Dave Owenby said the first phase of the road use agreement will be implemented for the new wind farm.
Approximately 170 wind turbines are slated to be constructed, the majority to be located north and west of Elgin in Antelope County.
Of that number, under 40 wind turbines are being projected to be built in Wheeler County.
Owenby said the lay down yard will be located on the south side of 846 Road between 520 and 521 avenues.
Bridge upgrades will be initiated and some intersections will be worked on to allow for turns when turbines are transported to site locations.
He said 846 Road will be utilized all the way to Highway 14 during wind farm construction.
Invenergy, who is constructing the wind farm, will open up the rest of the road agreement with Antelope County sometime in October.
One concern raised by Commissioner Dean Smith was dust control. It will be the contractor’s responsibility to keep dust under control. The county, the contractor and Invenergy will make the necessary determination.
“If everything is coming in off Highway 14, it’s going to be dirty,” Smith said.
Owenby noted the delivery route is still being finalized.
County Road Super-intendent Casey Dittrich said, “I’m very comfortable with everything I’ve seen.”
According to information provided by Invenergy …
• Thunderhead will be a renewable energy generation facility of up to 300 megawatts (MW) of nameplate capacity located within a project boundary containing nearly 75,000 acres in Antelope County.
• Thunderhead Wind Energy is likely to result in the hiring of up to 15 full-time employees as well as 400 part-time construction positions.
• The nameplate generating capacity of each wind turbine will range from 2.3 MWs up to 3.8 MWs and will total no more than 300 MW of capacity in Antelope County.
• Regarding tax revenue, under current law in Nebraska, a 300 MW project would pay approximately $1,055,400 annually in nameplate capacity taxes every year (based on the current legislation of $3,518 per megawatt).
• Power collected from the wind farm would go to a project collector substation then to an above ground transmission line at 345kV voltage to Nebraska Public Power District’s Holt County Substation.