Release Date: June 15, 2010

Wind farm construction to start soon | Up to 90 turbines planned for project

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Construction will start before summer on the Glacier Hills Wind Park north of Madison, We Energies said Thursday as it announced it had hired three Wisconsin firms to design and build the project.

State regulators in January approved plans for the $413.5 million Columbia County wind farm. The project will have up to 90 turbines. The wind farm will generate at least 145.8 megawatts of electricity, or enough over a year's time to power 45, 000 typical homes.

Scheduled to be completed in 2011, it will generate more power than any other wind project in Wisconsin, slightly ahead of the Blue Sky Green Field wind farm that We Energies opened in 2008 near Fond du Lac.

Vestas Wind Systems said Thursday it will supply 81 turbines to We Energies for the Glacier Hills project, after supplying 88 turbines for the Fond du Lac County project. The value of the order was not disclosed.

Separately, We Energies said that three Wisconsin firms have been hired to handle the project's construction: The Boldt Co. of Appleton; Michels Corp. of Brownsville; and Edgerton Contractors of Oak Creek.

"Boldt will build the foundations and erect the turbines, Michels will handle the electrical work and Edgerton will build the access roads to the turbines," utility spokeswoman Irissol Arce said.

The turbines, each capable of generating 1.8 megawatts of electricity, will be delivered in early 2011. A Vestas spokesman said the Danish wind turbine maker will produce the turbines in the United States, at three Colorado factories. We Energies spokesman Brian Manthey said the utility is expected to buy additional turbines for the project. The utility had initially proposed a 90-turbine project. But state regulators required that turbines be located farther from nearby homes than the utility had first proposed.

"We Energies' assessment of how many turbines will be built at Glacier Hills will be completed next month, Manthey said. "That will determine whether the final cost of the plan will be $413.5 million, or somewhat less."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.