Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Tower, Nacelle Go Up on North Turbine

The greatest engineering feat on campus since the biomass conversion nearly a decade ago is underway, as crews continue to assemble the first of two Vestas V-82 1.65 MW wind turbines.

After the base was installed on Nov. 20 and sealed with grout, additional sections of the 270-foot tower were installed on Nov. 22 and 23. Following that work, the nacelle, bearing the college's initials and logo, was installed on Nov. 23. Construction will continue Friday, Nov. 26. Once the blades are attached to the hub, the rotor will be lifted into place next week. Then, the assembly process will be repeated for the south turbine.

Students, employees and passersby paused to witness various aspects of the assembly. As each piece was added to create the tower, one couldn't help but marvel at the trio of workers stationed inside, ready to attach and torque the components after they were maneuvered into place by a crane operator from Baldwin Crane and Equipment Corp. of Wilmington. The crew climbing the rungs of an internal ladder to do the assembly consists of Richard Jenkins of Texas, a project technician with Vestas; and a local father and son team, Jean and Chris Cormier, who work for Lumus Construction of Wilmington. Chris Cormier, is a business administration major at MWCC.

One of the differences between open field work, in building construction, for example, and wind turbine construction is "they climb on the outside and we climb on the inside," said Jenkins, who has erected over 150 turbines. "Once you get inside the tower, the height issue goes away. You get a view that no one else gets."

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