BLInspirations

Photos & More

Tall Crane
Tall Crane

Big Level Wind Project

| 0 comments

The Big Level Wind Project is located on in northern Potter County, Pennsylvania near Harrison Valley. We were near there at the end of July 2019 visiting Beverly’s family in New York. Although we saw and photographed a staging area for turbine tower sections and blades at the base of the mountain, Beverly and I were unable to drive near the project – all we found were unpaved roads with Road Closed signs. We were able to photograph a crane installing a blade hub on the nacelle (the housing for the gearbox, generator, and controls) from a distance. Later that day, my brother-in-law took me up back roads to see the project, and we were able to view the ongoing construction at close range. At that time, three wind turbines were assembled and they were working on the fourth with the tall crane. There were also about six partially assembled towers.

Project Summary:

  • The Big Level Wind Project is located on about 6,900 acres of privately owned land on Big Level Mountain. Each of the turbine sites requires approximately 10-acres of timber-clearing and road construction – about 240 acres of land have been cleared for the project.
  • The project will consist of 25 wind turbines – 19 on 131.4 meter (431 ft.) towers and 6 on 110 meter (361 ft.) towers
  • The turbines are GE 3.6-137 – 3.6 MW each with a rotor diameter of 137 meters (449 ft.). On the taller towers, the top of the blade circle to the ground will be 199 meters (653 ft.).
  • The nameplate generation capacity of the project is 90 MW
  • The Project is owned by TransAlta of Canada and construction began in February 2018
  • Power will be purchased by Microsoft (15 year agreement)

In the staging area we saw one of the transporters used to carry blades or tower sections up to the turbine location. The transporter has 12 axles with eight wheels on each axle. The wheels appear to be steerable as the transporter is easily able to go around very sharp bends on the steep, narrow access road going up the mountain to the wind project. In the last photo in the Additional Images section, there is a convoy consisting of a lead warning vehicle, a towing tractor, an empty transporter with a towing tongue at each end, a second towing tractor (not attached to the transporter), and a trailing warning vehicle. We wondered if someone in the second towing tractor was steering the back of the transporter remotely, as some of the turns were so sharp that the rear of the transporter couldn’t be seen from the cab of the towing tractor.

We learned a lot about the turbine tower details from both observation and talking to employees of the construction company. The towers are assembled from either six sections (361 ft. tower) or seven sections (431 ft. tower). The tower sections are about 60 ft. long and tapered, except for the additional section added in the middle to make the taller tower, which is cylindrical and about 70 ft. long. The tower sections are marked with the diameter in millimeters (mm) on a covering over the openings. Except at the base, the tower sections are bolted together internally and the joints appear to be sealed. The mounting of the base section of the tower to the concrete pad is with a double row of studs anchored to the reinforcing steel in the concrete. The individual tower sections are completely preassembled with ladders, platforms, power cabling, and control cabling.

Each blade is 67.2 meters (220 ft.) long. In the Additional Images section below, the tall crane was starting to lift a blade to the just-installed blade hub when they apparently got a wind warning, because the lifting stopped and the blade was lowered back to the clamps and supports on the ground.

Turbine construction is proceeding from sites farthest from the main access road. The road network is in place, the turbine sites have been cleared, and foundation pads are being installed with power and control cabling. More power and control cabling are being buried between sites and to the power distribution yard. The tower sections, blades, nacelle, hub, and other hardware and supplies for each turbine are being stored around the turbine bases in preparation for the tower construction. A small crane (about 240′ tall) is used to assemble the bottom three tower sections. Later, the large crane will add the remaining three or four sections, and install the nacelle, hub, and blades.

My brother-in-law had previously asked about the black helical objects wrapped around the towers as they were being assembled (please see the featured photo and the 12th photo in the Additional Images section below). They explained that noise created by the wind blowing past the towers made it nearly impossible to work inside the tower and the black helical objects prevented (or reduced) the noise (probably by disrupting the wind iaround the tower). The black helical objects are simply 6″ diameter corrugated plastic drain pipe with a rope through the center and spray foam filling the ends. The tower sections had holes for the ropes to enter for attachment.

Additional Resources

TransAlta Project Summary
GE 3.6-137 Turbine Specifications
GE Turbine Brochure (1.8 MB PDF)

Additional Images

Technical Information

I had neglected to start my Geotag app so there are no GPS coordinates.

Large Crane Installing Blade Hub

  • Date: 7/31/2019
  • Time: 11:24 AM
  • Camera: Canon EOS 77D
  • Lens: Canon EF-S 55-250 mm f/4.5-5.6 IS STM
  • Settings:
    • Lens: 250 mm, f/19
    • ISO: 200
    • Shutter: 1/350 sec
  • Cropped image is 3811 x 5717 px

Transporter 1

  • Date: 7/31/2019
  • Time: 12:08 PM
  • Camera: Canon EOS 77D
  • Lens: Canon EF-S 17-55 mm f/2.8 IS USM
  • Settings:
    • Lens: 21 mm, f/6.7
    • ISO: 200
    • Shutter: 1/350 sec
  • Uncropped image is 6000 x 4000 px

Loading Cranes

  • Date: 7/31/2019
  • Time: 12:09 PM
  • Camera: Canon EOS 77D
  • Lens: Canon EF-S 17-55 mm f/2.8 IS USM
  • Settings:
    • Lens: 43 mm, f/16
    • ISO: 200
    • Shutter: 1/350 sec
  • Cropped image is 3673 x 5510 px

Turbine Blade

  • Date: 7/31/2019
  • Time: 12:09 PM
  • Camera: Canon EOS 77D
  • Lens: Canon EF-S 17-55 mm f/2.8 IS USM
  • Settings:
    • Lens: 43 mm, f/16
    • ISO: 200
    • Shutter: 1/350 sec
  • Uncropped image is 6000 x 4000 px

Tower Section Interior

  • Date: 7/31/2019
  • Time: 3:11 PM
  • Camera: Canon EOS 77D
  • Lens: Canon EF-S 17-55 mm f/2.8 IS USM
  • Settings:
    • Lens: 23 mm, f/8
    • ISO: 200
    • Shutter: 1/125 sec
  • Cropped image is 5923 x 3949 px

Tower Section

  • Date: 7/31/2019
  • Time: 3:12 PM
  • Camera: Canon EOS 77D
  • Lens: Canon EF-S 17-55 mm f/2.8 IS USM
  • Settings:
    • Lens: 28 mm, f/13
    • ISO: 200
    • Shutter: 1/125 sec
  • Uncropped image is 6000 x 4000 px

Tower Base

  • Date: 7/31/2019
  • Time: 3:20 PM
  • Camera: Canon EOS 77D
  • Lens: Canon EF-S 17-55 mm f/2.8 IS USM
  • Settings:
    • Lens: 48 mm, f/9.5
    • ISO: 200
    • Shutter: 1/125 sec
  • Cropped image is 5877 x 3918 px

Tower Base Section

  • Date: 7/31/2019
  • Time: 3:23 PM
  • Camera: Canon EOS 77D
  • Lens: Canon EF-S 17-55 mm f/2.8 IS USM
  • Settings:
    • Lens: 18 mm, f/8
    • ISO: 200
    • Shutter: 1/125 sec
  • Cropped image is 5349 x 3566 px

Tower Section Installation

  • Date: 7/31/2019
  • Time: 3:34 PM
  • Camera: Canon EOS 77D
  • Lens: Canon EF-S 17-55 mm f/2.8 IS USM
  • Settings:
    • Lens: 17 mm, f/22
    • ISO: 200
    • Shutter: 1/125 sec
  • Cropped image is 3703 x 5555 px

Small Crane

  • Date: 7/31/2019
  • Time: 3:36 PM
  • Camera: Canon EOS 77D
  • Lens: Canon EF-S 55-250 mm f/4.5-5.6 IS STM
  • Settings:
    • Lens: 124 mm, f/6.7
    • ISO: 200
    • Shutter: 1/125 sec
  • Uncropped image is 6000 x 4000 px

Small Crane Counterweights

  • Date: 7/31/2019
  • Time: 3:37 PM
  • Camera: Canon EOS 77D
  • Lens: Canon EF-S 55-250 mm f/4.5-5.6 IS STM
  • Settings:
    • Lens: 55 mm, f/5.6
    • ISO: 200
    • Shutter: 1/125 sec
  • Uncropped image is 4000 x 6000 px

Large Crane by Tower

  • Date: 7/31/2019
  • Time: 3:53 PM
  • Camera: Canon EOS 77D
  • Lens: Canon EF-S 17-55 mm f/2.8 IS USM
  • Settings:
    • Lens: 40 mm, f/11
    • ISO: 200
    • Shutter: 1/1500 sec
  • Cropped image is 3959 x 5939 px

Large Crane Lifting Blade

  • Date: 7/31/2019
  • Time: 4:02 PM
  • Camera: Canon EOS 77D
  • Lens: Canon EF-S 17-55 mm f/2.8 IS USM
  • Settings:
    • Lens: 40 mm, f/8
    • ISO: 200
    • Shutter: 1/500 sec
  • Uncropped image is 5605 x 3737 px

Large Crane Base

  • Date: 7/31/2019
  • Time: 4:08 PM
  • Camera: Canon EOS 77D
  • Lens: Canon EF-S 17-55 mm f/2.8 IS USM
  • Settings:
    • Lens: 55 mm, f/4.5
    • ISO: 200
    • Shutter: 1/250 sec
  • Uncropped image is 5809 x 3873 px

Assembled Wind Turbine

  • Date: 7/31/2019
  • Time: 4:43 PM
  • Camera: Canon EOS 77D
  • Lens: Canon EF-S 17-55 mm f/2.8 IS USM
  • Settings:
    • Lens: 17 mm, f/13
    • ISO: 200
    • Shutter: 1/750 sec
  • Cropped image is 3867 x 5801 px

Transporter 2

  • Date: 7/31/2019
  • Time: 5:07 PM
  • Camera: Canon EOS 77D
  • Lens: Canon EF-S 55-250 mm f/4.5-5.6 IS STM
  • Settings:
    • Lens: 183 mm, f/5.6
    • ISO: 200
    • Shutter: 1/180 sec
  • Uncropped image is 6000 x 4000 px

Leave a Reply

Required fields are marked *.


error: Content is Copyright by BLInspirations