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Crane option now, ‘tilt/fell’ the next time

Board member Derek Whited, who is chairman of the zoning committee, is against the tilt/fell method, because of the uncertainty of its impact. He said the crane method has been the only kind of method used in Bureau County so far. He commented that when the wind company bought out the Big Sky Wind farm, they knew the decommissioning plan required them to use the crane method.

Board requires Big Sky to use cranes to take down old towers now, but controlled drops could be used the next time around

PRINCETON — The Bureau County Board on Tuesday was nearly split when it came to deciding which method was the best for decommissioning outdated wind turbines on the Big Sky Wind farm in the vicinity of Ohio, Ill.

The board voted down an addendum to the project’s 2006 decommissioning and site restoration plan, which would allow BSW DevCo LLC, the wind company that owns the farm, to use what they call tilt/fell method to remove the old turbines.

This method essentially involves a controlled drop of the turbine before the blades are cut off and hauled away.

The wind company is now going to have to stick with what’s spelled out in the 2006 plan, which requires the turbines be taken down with a crane. BSW DevCo LLC says this outdated method is no longer the industry standard. They say tilt/fell method is the new industry standard.

The wind company is in the midst of repowering the Big Sky Wind farm, which has 56 turbines in Bureau County and 58 in Lee County. This project involves replacing outdated turbines with newer, quieter, more efficient models. Because of... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

Board requires Big Sky to use cranes to take down old towers now, but controlled drops could be used the next time around

PRINCETON — The Bureau County Board on Tuesday was nearly split when it came to deciding which method was the best for decommissioning outdated wind turbines on the Big Sky Wind farm in the vicinity of Ohio, Ill.

The board voted down an addendum to the project’s 2006 decommissioning and site restoration plan, which would allow BSW DevCo LLC, the wind company that owns the farm, to use what they call tilt/fell method to remove the old turbines.

This method essentially involves a controlled drop of the turbine before the blades are cut off and hauled away.

The wind company is now going to have to stick with what’s spelled out in the 2006 plan, which requires the turbines be taken down with a crane. BSW DevCo LLC says this outdated method is no longer the industry standard. They say tilt/fell method is the new industry standard.

The wind company is in the midst of repowering the Big Sky Wind farm, which has 56 turbines in Bureau County and 58 in Lee County. This project involves replacing outdated turbines with newer, quieter, more efficient models. Because of the improved efficiency of the newer models, the wind company will actually be able to decrease the overall size of the farm by 17 turbines (going from 114 turbines to 97 turbines, 56 in Bureau County, and 41 in Lee County, according to the Decommissioning and Site Restoration Plan Agreement for the Repowered Big Sky Wind Energy Project).

However, Kevin Wetzel of Pattern Development, the company hired to help with the repowering project, said the schedule and cost projection was dependent on being able to use “the industry standard” way of decommissioning the turbines.

It was not all bad news for BSW DevCo LLC on Tuesday, however. If the wind company moves forward with the repowering project and erects the new wind turbines, they will have the option to decommission them using either the crane of tilt/fell method in the future.

Following the county board’s vote on decommissioning the 2006 wind turbines, it did approve a plan agreement with BSW DevCo LLC that gives them that choice when the time comes.

There are many concerns among residents and county board members with the tilt/fell method. The zoning board of appeals and zoning committee also did not recommend the tilt/fell method to the county board.

Sharing their concerns

During Tuesday’s meeting, two county residents, Kendall Guither and Katherine Guither, shared their concerns with the method.


Kendall Guither is concerned with the impact it would have on the ground and the possible effect it would have on natural gas wells when they are dropped.

“It’s going to basically be a mini earthquake, and it would happen multiple times,” he said.

Katherine Guither shared her concerns about metal residue from the turbine blades getting into their nearby alfalfa field and contaminating the crop when they’re dropped.

Jerry Herling of Herling Construction also spoke Tuesday in favor of the tilt/fell method, which he said he has been doing for more than 20 years.

“Each site is specific as to where we drop them, and it’s becoming an industry standard over the last 10 years because it’s faster, it’s less impact on the properties and limits the mess it makes,” he said.

Herling also offered assurances he has dropped turbines in Texas near gas wells and has never cracked or fractured a pipe.

“We have decommissioned thousands of these things. We have a safety record that is impeccable. I’ve been in business for 32 years in the wind industry, and I have no recordables with OSHA in the history of my company,” he said.

Herling also explained how the crane method impacts about five acres of land verses the tilt/fell method, which impacts only about two to two and one-half acres.

Board member Bob Albrecht, who farms land in northern Bureau County, said as a farmer, he preferred the tilt/fell method over crane, because of the less impact it has on the soil.

“Moving a crane that big and that heavy is pretty hard on the soil. The fewer times we do it, the better off we are,” he said.

Board member Derek Whited, who is chairman of the zoning committee, is against the tilt/fell method, because of the uncertainty of its impact. He said the crane method has been the only kind of method used in Bureau County so far.

He commented that when the wind company bought out the Big Sky Wind farm, they knew the decommissioning plan required them to use the crane method.

“They knew what they bought. You get what you get,” Whited said.

“The crane method has always been used on all the (wind) projects in Bureau County leading up to this point,” he said.


Source: https://www.bcrnews.com/201...

JUL 13 2019
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