Cohocton Wind is a 125MW wind farm sited across the hilltops of a designated agricultural district in New York State’s Finger Lakes Region. The $150 million project involved installation of 50 Clipper Liberty 2.5MW Wind Turbines, two substations, transmission lines, and access roads. Cohocton Wind is owned and operated by Canandaigua Power Partners, an LLC created by developer First Wind. The site provides enough energy to supply 50,000 homes in the Northeastern US.
Under a $7.5 million contract with MSE Power Systems, O’Connell constructed the project’s two collection substations, overhead collection lines, ten miles of pole supported overhead 115kV transmission line, and the New York State grid point of interconnect 230kV switchyard. Construction began in winter involving site clearing, excavation, and pole setting on the steep, rugged slopes of the Bristol Hills. The combination of our experience and fleet of specialized all-terrain equipment and track vehicles enabled us to meet the challenges of the project and complete work within the construction window, even with numerous scheduling, weather, and site access setbacks.
The overhead transmission line O’Connell constructed connects Cohocton Wind’s two collection substations on opposing sides of New York Interstate 390. Our crossing of the interstate coincided with that of another large area construction project which we successfully managed simultaneously without interruption to either. Throughout the project, O’Connell was able to utilize the regional railroad system for delivery of poles as well as removal of logs from site clearing.
Project management on the ground and back at the office maintained strong working relationships with area government and regulatory officials as well as regular communications with resident land owners to facilitate successful construction activities. Our experience working within agricultural districts and our utilization of local forces helped breakdown barriers that could have further inhibited construction progress.
O’Connell’s Technical Services Division commissioned elements of the system to ensure they met with the interconnecting utility’s standards and specs. We remained engaged in the project past our contractual obligations to provide counsel and help ensure a seamless energization of the system.
South of Buffalo, New York, on an abandoned Bethlehem Steel plant site, eight 2.5MW Clipper wind turbines are producing power for the New York State Independent System Operator grid. Called “Steel Winds”, it was a $40 million clean energy project developed and owned jointly by BQ Energy and UPC Wind. The wind turbines (the largest manufactured in the U.S.) can produce 57,000 MW-Hours of electricity a year with the power sold both to individual companies and utilities. Steel Winds is said to be the largest U.S. wind farm developed in an urban setting and the first sited on the shores of Lake Erie.
What started as a small condition assessment job on a retired substation by O’Connell’s Technical Services Group led to our getting the complete electrical construction package at Steel Winds, subcontracted from the Tennessee Valley Infrastructure Group. We repaired and modified the existing substation to accept power generated by the wind turbines, installed the underground collection systems and overhead transmission lines, tower wiring and grounding, and ran fiber optics for all data communications. We wrapped up the project where it all began—at the substation—by providing final systems acceptance testing and commissioning. Today, we provide preventative maintenance services to the new site owners.
Developer Noble Environmental Power, sells the electric power generated at the Wethersfield Wind Farm into the New York power market as well as renewable energy credits to green energy marketers. The wind park has 84 General Electric 1.5MW wind turbines capable of producing 126MW of power. The wind farm’s substation steps-up the 34,500 voltage to 230KV for transmission while the switchyard connects the wind farm’s power to New York State Gas & Electric’s 230KV utility grid via a ring bus configuration.
On the Wethersfield project O’Connell contracted with Noble for $6.5 million of electrical construction and testing work. We demonstrated our strength in several areas key to successful wind park operation: power grid Point of Interconnect (POI), switchyard construction, overhead transmission line construction, and total system testing and commissioning.
Construction services included a 230KV POI ring bus switchyard and the six miles of overhead 230KV transmission line. O’Connell’s Technical Services Division conducted end-to-end testing from the collection substation to the switchyard along with functional testing and commissioning of the switchyard.
The project was completed on schedule.
Bliss Wind Farm, a 100.5 megawatt wind power generation site, was the first of several wind farms recently developed in the Greater Niagra Region of Upstate New York. The site features 67 GE 1.5 megawatt turbines and represents a $200 million investment in clean, renewable energy funded by G.E. Energy Services and operated by Noble Environmental Power.
O’Connell’s contribution spanned three diverse aspects of the Noble Bliss project—testing, power line construction, and data communications.
Prior to breaking ground, Nobel contracted with our Technical Services Division to provide acceptance testing for the project’s underground cable while it was still on spools at their warehouse. After construction, we performed all acceptance testing for the site’s overhead collection and tower grounding systems and on each of the 67 turbine tower transformers. We also provided site energization and start-up support.
O’Connell’s Power Line Division sealed a deal with Noble for $3.6 million to do their part. Line work involved running 115kV overhead transmission line between the site’s 34.5/115kV substation and grid interconnection substation, 14 miles away, and 25 miles of overhead collection system, single, double, and triple 34.5kV circuit Hendrix Cable construction. All line work was completed within 10 months.
Our Communications Division was awarded the fiber optics portion of the project. Fiber cable carries crucial operation and performance data from instrumentation on each turbine to a single collection point at the site. From there it is transmitted to a commercial processing center where it is monitored and analyzed. O’Connell reel tested and installed 90,000 feet of fiber optic cable, performing 1600 terminations, 110 aerial and pedestal splice points, and all final post-termination fiber testing