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Eastern Nevada wind generation project: Big job, big employment, big production

Rob Sabo

Pattern Energy’s Spring Valley wind farm near Ely is no small affair.

Each tower measures 262 feet, while the rotors (from the center to the blade tip) are 160 feet long. At more than 420 feet, each of the 66 towers (to the tip of the blade at its peak) is taller than the 38-story Silver Legacy casino, downtown Reno’s tallest structure, or more than 100 feet taller than the Statue of Liberty.

The 150-megawatt Spring Valley project will generate enough power for 45,000 homes annually, says Joan Inlow, construction project manager for Spring Valley wind. Pattern expects to complete erection of the wind turbines in an 11-week window and begin delivering power to the grid by the end of July.

Each turbine takes about two weeks to assemble, and once built, there is a lot of wiring involved to bring power from the nacelle, or generator, through the base and into a collection system, Inlow says.

More than 225 people are involved in the construction process, says Pattern Spokesman Matt Dallas, and the project will create 13 full-time positions once completed. Over the next 20 years, the Spring Valley wind farm is expected to generate more than $20 million in tax revenue for White Pine Count and the State of Nevada Renewable Energy Fund, Dallas says.