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Construction issues

A wind farm may be a single machine or it may be a large number of machines – possibly many hundreds.  The design approach and the construction method will, however, be almost identical whatever the size of project envisaged.  The record of the wind industry in the construction of wind farms is generally good.  Few wind farms are delivered either late or over budget.

Newcomers to the wind industry tend to think of a wind farm as a power station.  There are, however, some important differences between these two types of power generation.  A conventional power station is one large machine, which will not generate power until it is complete.  It will often need a substantial and complicated civil structure, and construction risk will be an important part of the project assessment.  However, the construction of a wind farm is more akin to the purchase of a fleet of trucks than it is to the construction of a power station.  The turbines will be purchased at a fixed cost agreed in advance and a delivery schedule will be established exactly as it would be for a fleet of trucks.  In a similar way the electrical infrastructure can be specified well in advance - again probably at a fixed price.  There may be some variable costs associated with the civil works but this cost variation will be very small compared to the cost of the project as a whole.  The construction time is very short compared to a conventional power plant.  A 10 MW wind farm can easily be built within a couple of months.

To minimise cost and environmental effects, it is common to source material for roads from on-site quarries or ‘borrow pits’, where suitable.  It may be necessary to seek permission for this from the permitting authorities.

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