Friday, October 29, 2010

A Firm Foundation

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Talk about a firm foundation! The wind turbines at MWCC literally will be anchored to the earth through extraordinary engineering that requires one-third less concrete and other materials than a traditional gravity foundation.
“We’re basically nailing them to the ground,” explained Lloyd Purdy, an engineering technician with EarthSystems Global, Inc., who is on site this week for the foundation work. The California-based company works with Patrick and Henderson, Inc. in providing engineering design support for wind projects.
MWCC’s turbines are being installed with P&H rock/pile anchor foundations. Last week, crews from Emerald Excavation of Plymouth (a WBE – Women Business Enterprise) excavated the two foundation holes. That’s the same company that built the access road and completed the duct bank trenching this summer. Once the holes were excavated, Boart Longyear, a global company based in Utah with a Massachusetts branch in North Reading, drilled 45 to 65 feet into soil and bedrock to install 18 anchors per foundation.
This week, reinforcing steel, called re-bar, was installed in the north turbine foundation to increase the strength of the concrete. Today, crews from S&F Concrete of Hudson filled the foundation structure with 85 yards of a specialty concrete that reaches a higher strength faster than ordinary concrete. Testing agents from Geotechnical Consultants, Inc. of Marlboro and Miller Engineering & Testing of Northboro are providing quality assurance/quality control while the foundation work ensues.
Next week, the process will be repeated when the foundation is built for the south turbine.
“It’s an awesome milestone,” remarked Ted Fiffi, resident engineer with the Massachusetts Division of Capital Asset Management.


Friday, October 22, 2010

Who's Who on the Wind Project?

Who’s involved with MWCC’s wind project? Or rather, who’s not? Well over 100 people will play significant roles in the construction of the two Vestas V82 turbines on the college’s Gardner campus: a team from the Massachusetts Division of Capital Asset Management; Falmouth-based J.K. Scanlan Company, Inc., the general contractor; civil, structural and electrical engineers; project managers and supervisors; drilling contractors; excavators; concrete subcontractors; electricians; truck drivers; crane operators and crane mechanics; turbine technicians; accountants and financial managers, for starters.
And that doesn’t include the specialists involved during years of planning, studies and design; those who secured and are administering federal and state funding for the project; the state agencies and leaders working behind the scenes; the folks from National Grid who will oversee interconnection; or those who manufactured the tower components, long before this summer’s groundbreaking.
While construction continues, a team of 10 key players gathers weekly in the Drake Boardroom to hash out details of the DCAM project, which is part of Massachusetts’ overarching initiative to achieve greater energy independence by 2020.
Seated at the table from DCAM are David Fang, project manager, and local residents Phil Godin, project engineer and Ted Fiffy, resident engineer. From J.K. Scanlan, which was awarded $18.6 million in contracts to build MWCC’s turbines and the neighboring towers going up at the North Central Correctional Institution, you’ll find Andrew Baker, project executive; Greg Inman, project manager; Joe DiPietro, project supervisor; and Chris Grant, general superintendent and safety officer.
Rounding out this construction team are the players from the Mount: Vice President of Finance and Administration Bob LaBonte, who oversees the financial aspects for the college as well as the facilities department, and Bill Swift, director of maintenance and mechanical systems, who ultimately will be among those responsible for the daily operations of the turbines. And of course, there’s Ed Terceiro, MWCC's resident engineer, who as executive vice president set the college down its green path a decade ago with President Daniel Asquino, and kept forging ahead to reach this project, which now amounts to the fifth renewable energy source on the campus.
"DCAM Commissioner David Perini appreciates Ed's experience, not only for this project, but all of the renewable projects on the campus," David Fang said.

For David Fang and Phil Godin, the Mount’s a familiar place. Both took part in building the Garrison Center for Early Childhood Education in 2005, as well as the installation last summer of the 100 kW photovoltaic solar array on the roof of the main campus.  Before that, Phil was part of the biomass project, the 2002 energy conversion that started it all.
The wind project ties in with Governor Deval Patrick's ambitious and historic goal for the Commonwealth - the installation of 2,000 megawatts of wind energy by the year 2020. In September, Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Ian Bowles said the state projects at MWCC and the NCCI are helping to meet that goal. Assisting with that effort is DCAM's Energy Efficiency & Sustainable Buildings Group, also known as "The E-Team," within the Office of Facilities Management, led by Hope Davis as director, Jenna Ide as deputy director, and John Crisley, energy planner; as well as the Department of Energy Resources.

Along with the consultant Jacobs Engineering, the E-Team led the study, initial design and procurement. The project at MWCC also involves contracts coordination from DCAM's Office of Finance, the Massachusetts Executive Office for Administration and Finance, and the MassDevelopment Finance Agency.

Also on the construction sites here and at NCCI is Laura Nieburg, project manager with Vestas Americas, who is responsible for the equipment from delivery until it's brought online.
“A few years ago, John Scanlan had the vision of getting into renewable energy,” the company’s Andrew Baker explains. The leap from solar installation to wind turbines was an inevitable progression for the 26-year-old construction firm, which last year erected a turbine at a Veterans Administration hospital in St. Cloud, Minn. “It’s largely about surrounding yourself with the proper team, and the team we have here has years and years of experience.” 

Friday, October 15, 2010

MWCC's Wind Turbines Arrive!

The massive components that will make up MWCC's two 1.65 MW wind turbines arrived over a 10-day span from Sept. 21 through Sept. 30, generating currents of excitement as elongated trucks maneuvered onto the Gardner campus to deliver the college's newest renewable energy solution.

"With the turbines, biomass and solar energy, we'll be the most energy-independent college or university in New England. That's money we can put back into the classrooms," President Daniel M. Asquino remarked.

MWCC Resident Engineer Ed Terceiro, executive vice president emeritus, is overseeing the project for the Mount. Construction will continue over the next two months. When completed, the two Vestas V82 wind turbines are expected to produce 4,978 KWh hours of electricity annually. As a result, the turbines will annually generate approximately 97% percent of the college's electricity consumption and will return approximately 30% of the power generated back into the grid.
Witnessing the long-planned project come to fruition is creating an electrical energy on campus, noted Janice Barney, Dean of the School of Business, Science and Technology, "Everyone's excited to see this new venture."

Computer Graphic Design instructor Sonya Shelton viewed the delivery with students, faculty and staff from the building's third floor. "I have to think that this is how people responsed to the first automobiles. For a society that can sometimes seem unfazed by anything new, this is an exception. We've seen it all, except apparently this."

The wind energy projects at MWCC and at the North Central Correctional Institution, also in Gardner, are a joint collaboration of the Massachusetts Division of Capital Asset Management and the Department of Energy Resources to achieve the renewable energy goals of Gov. Deval Patrick's Leading by Example program, which calls for increasing the use of renewable power and energy efficiency at state facilities.

MWCC's $9 million wind project is being funded through a variety of sources, including $3.2 million in U.S. Department of Energy grants secured by Congressman John Olver; $2.1 million from a low interest Clean Renewable Energy Bond (CREB) made available through the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act; and $3.7 million from Massachusetts Clean Energy Investment Bonds.