Starting to Dig!

July 24, 2006. We have begun the construction work for the addition of two turbines to the Ferndale site. The foundation perimeters have been staked, and marked with orange paint. A high hoe and dump truck are working on excavating the south foundation.

Turbines are due to arrive in late August, and we have a lot to prepare before then.

We are excavating foundations – 2.6 m deep, and 14.8 m across. Friday, if all goes well, we will pour the mudslab in the south foundation, with Monday on the north foundation.

A mudslab is a low grade concrete, about 3 inches deep, that is poured just to make a smooth clean surface on which to assemble the rebar. On Friday, the geo tech engineer will reconfirmed that the soils match the earlier geo tech study, to ensure the foundations are sufficient for the soil conditions.
The replacement telephone poles are installed, so that the Amtelecom phone lines can be raised to allow the blades and nacelle to pass under it. The rebar is on order and will arrive Monday. Installation of the forms, and rebar begins next week.
The bolt cage that the tower will be attached to has been assembled off site, and will be installed in the web of rebar on Aug 4. If all goes according to plan, we will be pouring concrete for the foundations on Aug 6. It will be an all day continuous pour, and we will go until we are done.

The building inspector asked me how we will know if the concrete at the bottom of the foundation has cured. I found the answer today. We will be taking many samples from the concrete trucks on the day of the pour. These samples are then tested over the course of the 28 days, to confirm that they have set properly. In this way, we will know that our foundation is ready to support our tower.

We have roads to build. We can make do with existing roads for cement trucks, and dump trucks, but the roads will need to be widened, and straightened to accomodate the blade trucks, and we have about 600 feet of new road to install to get to the north turbine. Wind turbine blades are big, and need a wide turning radius. We will have crane pads to construct – hard packed gravel that can support a large crane. We have to trench the power and communications cables, and attach them to the substation. We have padmount transformers on order. Right now, they are the not due to arrive until mid October, so that would be the earliest the turbines can energize.

A meeting is set for Thursday to discuss Free Wave for the transfer trip signal required by Hydro One. A plan B has been discussed if we find that the wireless Free Wave communications is unreliable.

The contractors are working well with each other. A can do attitude helps a lot. Jason Van Geel, of Carlsun Energy Solutions Inc in Tiverton. is the leading contractor, installing foundations, and erecting the turbines. He has done a fine job of keeping all informed. Jason’s company is new, but he spent several years as an engineer at Vestas before starting up his company. He brings an innovative approach, and is always thinking of new ways to do things better.
Bernie Hellyer Construction of Lion’s Head is doing the roads, foundation excavations, and trenching. Bernie is going to have a busy month. Pat Boyle Concrete Services, also of Lion’s Head, is doing some of the rebar and forms work, and has ordered the concrete. Tiltran Services of Tillsonburg is ordering and installing the padmount transformers, and getting them approved by the Electrical Safety Authority. ESAC of London is ordering communications cables, and will look after designing the logic into the relays to open the substation switch when the transfer trip signal is sent. Dave Hawkins Line Services of Tiverton will be burying the cable, and connecting the cable to the padmount transformer and substation.

With luck, and good teamwork, we should have new power by November 1.

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