Work at Albringhausen wind farm progressing well
Press article from the Kreiszeitung: First plant to run in October
Albringhausen – By Julia Kreykenbohm. At the moment, the Albringhausen wind farm is like a beehive: construction vehicles are buzzing around like busy insects, excavators are digging into the ground and employees of various companies are working hard in bright sunshine to ensure that the schedule for the various trades is adhered to. If all goes well, the first of the seven new plants is scheduled to go into operation in October.
Project managers Andre Meyer and Christian Meindertsma from the company Westwind, which is building the turbines, take a tour of the wind farm to show what has already been done there and what is still to come.
The access road to the Albringhausen wind farm leads from the Bundesstraße 61 over an asphalt road in the direction of Nienstedt. “We started building the road in January,” Meyer explains. “For the time being, this involved widening the existing asphalt roads, gravel and grass paths to 4.50 meters so that the construction site vehicles could use them.” In total, about eight kilometers had to be upgraded. The good weather, which brought neither frost nor snow, played into their hands.
The tour stops at the bridge over the Nienstedter Beeke. Work is underway there on a new culvert structure. “The existing culvert was getting on in years and we feared it would not withstand the traffic,” Meyer explains. On this occasion, the culvert and also the bridge will be significantly enlarged right away, as the Nienstedter Beeke was declared an otter waterway some time ago.
Some trees were also removed. “Otherwise, the vehicles that transport the rotor blades will have problems,” explains Meindertsma. This is because the transports can be up to 5 meters wide and up to 77 meters long in total. Today, Friday, the final asphalting work on the bridge is scheduled to begin.
The route continues over the gravel roads, past wide expanses of arable land. At one point, there is a large sign that provides info on the type of wind turbine and the wind farm, such as how much energy it will generate when it is finished. “The new GE 158 turbines are much more powerful than the 13 turbines that are already there,” Meindertsma said. “For comparison, one of the old ones provides about 2.5 million kilowatts a year. One of the new ones, 17.5 million kilowatts. In total, these seven wind turbines can supply about 40,000 homes with renewable electricity.”
The next stop is on one of the crane pads that basically frame the site where the wind turbine will eventually be located. Such an area is about 2,000 square meters. About 60 centimeters of non-bearing topsoil will be excavated and replaced with fill soil. “In this way, we create the basis for a load-bearing subsoil,” Meyer explains.
On top of that comes a gravel layer. In between, a grid is embedded to prevent the two construction materials from mixing. The surface on which a large crane can safely stand is finished. All seven surfaces have already been prepared.
Work then turns to the circular foundation area on which the wind turbine will later stand. “First, the topsoil and non-load-bearing foundation soil will be excavated here as well. On top of that comes a ballast base layer. An expert is on site and examines the subsoil very closely. “At the end, he carries out a so-called load plate compression test, which must prove that the soil has sufficient load-bearing capacity,” says Meyer. And it has to be able to hold quite a bit, because the concrete foundation alone weighs around 2,300 tons.
Foundation construction is scheduled to start next week. “Actually, it should have started already, but due to the Corona crisis, we are also behind schedule,” says Meyer. For the first two foundations, the so-called clean layer will be installed in the coming week, on top of which a mesh of reinforcement steel will be installed. “About 200 tons of iron will be braided in there.” If everything goes according to plan, the first foundations will be completed in May. Then the tower construction can follow immediately. The work plus dismantling will not be completely finished until summer 2021.
Speaking of dismantling: “Since we want to seal as little agricultural land as possible, parts of the crane parking areas and access roads will be dismantled after the plants are commissioned. These areas can then be used for arable farming again,” says Meyer.
Article from the Kreiszeitung of 16.04.2020
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