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Eva Creek wind turbine project under way near Healy

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Posted: Monday, June 25, 2012 11:40 pm | Updated: 10:36 am, Mon Jan 21, 2013.

FAIRBANKS — Trucks will begin shipping components from Anchorage this week to build 12 wind turbines at the Eva Creek Wind Project near Healy.

The trucks, which will only travel at night, will ship the turbine hubs and nacelles as well as the tower sections to Healy. From there they will be loaded on rail cars and shipped to Ferry, a small community along the railroad near the wind project location. The parts will then be trucked to the site on a road that was specially constructed for the project.

The turbines will be constructed using a giant crane that was shipped from Wisconsin for the project. The crane is the largest in Alaska and had to shipped in pieces and then reassembled after reaching the site.

The blades, which are 148 feet long, were shipped to Whittier and transported by rail to Healy. They began arriving June 15, at which time workers began preparing the turbine foundations at the project site.

It will take about three weeks for all the components to reach the site and turbine erection is scheduled to begin July 9, according to a project timeline on the GVEA website. The massive crane will move east to west, erecting the bottom portion of the towers before reversing direction to install the upper portions. The erection process is expected to take six to seven weeks and is expected to be completed Aug. 31. The total height of the turbine structures will be 410 feet.

Substation completion and testing of the project will occur in September. GVEA expects to have the wind turbines online mid-October.

The turbines are capable of producing slightly less than 25 megawatts, which translates to 77 million kilowatt hours per year, according to GVEA spokeswoman Cassandra Cerny.

“What that would mean to residential would be about 9,200 houses a year that it could power. That’s assuming average usage for a residential member being 700 kilowatt hours per month,” Cerny said.

The project will cost $93 million and will employ up to 180 workers during peak construction.

Contact staff writer Dorothy Chomicz at 459-7590.

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