When Ulteig’s Project Delivery Services (PDS) team kicked off the Solomon Forks Wind Project in July 2018, they already had multiple collaborations with Engie North America. And though every project comes with its share of challenges, this large 276 MW wind farm project was filled with challenges that put even the Ulteig PDS team to the test. In the end, the team delivered on time, to the satisfaction of its client.
Built with 105 Siemens Gamesa turbines, the Solomon Forks project was designed for Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs) made with major telecoms and retail customers. Based on its extensive experience, the Ulteig PDS team planned for success while preparing for any number of challenges that come with building a wind farm. However, facing strict deadlines, the Ulteig PDS team, which provided project and construction management services, achieved the following successes:
- Keeping the project on-track despite a massive weather event — In mid-March 2019, a bomb cyclone hit the Central Plains, including Solomon Forks. This winter storm brought hurricane-strength winds exceeding 90 mph and snow, causing extensive damage to project roads, turbines and equipment.
- Replacing damaged equipment in record time — In May 2019, the project site was directly hit by a tornado. In addition, torrential rains destroyed roads built for the project, damaged critical equipment and flooded the site. Twenty-four turbine blades were damaged by the tornado. The PDS team coordinated getting replacement blades in an expedited timeframe that met project schedule constraints, and they were an integral part in supporting insurance claims and settling change orders when issues arose.
- Building relationships with the community – The Ulteig PDS team put extensive effort in building and maintaining relationships with local landowners and the community despite the weather-event challenges. “The Solomon Forks and East Forks wind projects really changed the landscape of Thomas County,” said Nick Knezevich, Market Development Manager – Renewables. “In the end, the landowners were very happy with how it all turned out.”
“The Solomon Forks project was an incredible example of how a strong project and construction management team can overcome seemingly endless obstacles. It’s a shining example of what our PDS team can do,” said Knezevich.