Featuring 75 turbines on 100-meter towers capable of producing up to 150 megawatts of electricity, the Senate Wind Project in Graham, Texas, is one of the first wind projects in the state to be built on a narrow ridge line. The construction site is severely constrained by permitting issues and topography. Project owner Gamesa was concerned about whether the wind farm could be constructed on such difficult terrain and whether all of the proposed turbines could be used in the area.
Bentley software allowed Mortenson Construction to model the turbine sites and identify 33 of 75 sites that had constraints related to construction, foundation, or turbine logistics. Solutions were provided to demonstrate how these constraints would be overcome, so that turbines could be offloaded and installed at maximum elevation. Ultimately, all 75 of the proposed sites were used.
The firm’s logistics plan for the 27-square-mile area permitted the offload and construction of the turbines while maximizing site elevation to capture wind resources. Mortenson Construction used Bentley civil tools to coordinate design modifications that accommodated the maximum 10% grade for turbine deliveries.
Using MicroStation, InRoads, GEOPAK, Bentley Map, and Bentley View, Mortenson Construction modeled the turbine sites at each phase of the construction process — from foundation excavation to turbine component offload to turbine erection with a 650-ton crane.
- The small footprint available to offload and construct the turbines at some locations was managed by developing a grading plan using Bentley software.
- The logistics plan allowed the trucking firm responsible for delivering turbine components to schedule deliveries in accordance with site constraints, by either off-loading or just-in-time delivery.
- At some sites, assembly was not possible on the ground, requiring the project team to assemble the rotor in the air, blade by blade, 100 meters off the ground.
"Bentley software solutions identified the bottlenecks prior to construction and therefore eliminated the potential issues that would have arisen due to the civil constraints of this project."Sera Maloney