The people on the island of Oahu recently welcomed the official opening of Kahuku Wind – the largest wind energy facility in Hawaii, and a project in which Bassett Mechanical played a pivotal role. Components manufactured by Bassett Mechanical helped ensure that the 410-foot towers will stand securely.
The Kahuku wind farm produces 30 megawatts (MW) of electricity in Oahu – enough electricity to power 7,700 homes. The power is generated by 12 wind turbines – each with a 2.5 MW capacity and 15-meter-longblades – mounted atop the tall towers.
The company heading up this project was First Wind, an independent North American wind energy company focused on the development, ownership and operation of wind farms. First Wind tapped RMT Inc., another Wisconsin-based company, as the engineering, procurement and construction firm for the facility.
Then RMT contracted with Bassett Mechanical to manufacture and ship several components needed for the foundation. According to Paul Vander Heyden, Bassett senior project manager, the company provided 12 embed rings and three template rings.
“Just envision a huge foundation 50 feet by 50 feet by 10 feet deep, and in the very bottom is a big ring – 14 feet in diameter and two inches thick – with 140 holes drilled into this doughnut-shaped piece of thick steel for anchor bolts to go through,” VanderHeyden explains. “That big ring, called an embed ring, is used to secure the wind tower to the foundation. One hundred forty anchor bolts fasten to the embed ring 10 feet down at the bottom of the concrete slab.”
“The template ring, on the other hand, is only used temporarily to securely hold the anchor bolts in place until the concrete sets up,” VanderHeyden continues. “It is then removed when the concrete is hard and the wind tower is placed on the anchor bolts.”
Although this was the first project that Bassett Mechanical has supplied in Hawaii with RMT, they had partnered many times before.
“We selected Bassett Mechanical for this project because of their quality of work, responsiveness, experience and price,” states Pat Ringler, RMT project manager.
“Responsiveness and delivery are key,” agrees VanderHeyden. “Nobody in the industry can beat our turnaround time.”
With Hawaii located more than 2,000 miles from the U.S. mainland, the shipping and delivery of these components required careful coordination. “This was a challenging project because of the size of the rings,” VanderHeyden points out. “But we are no stranger to difficult projects with quick turnaround times, and we knew we could deliver on this project as well.”
Experienced in global shipping, Bassett Mechanical successfully worked with airlines, ocean freighters and trucking companies to maintain control of lead times.
“Bassett clearly understood the global shipping process,” states Ringler. “They got the required material to Hawaii and helped us keep the project on schedule.”
The Kahuku wind farm has the capacity to generate an estimated 80,000 megawatt hours of electricity annually, with no pollutants or carbon emissions.
Additional wind energy facilities are already under consideration for several Hawaiian Islands. VanderHeyden is hopeful RMT will again select Bassett Mechanical to work with them on future projects that help bring energy independence to Hawaii.