Project puts wind in sales for companies across region |

Project puts wind in sales for companies across region

Rob Sabo

Russell Gust of Gust Electric in Ely estimates his crews pulled more than 7.5 miles of copper wire to ground out the massive concrete pads holding wind turbines at the recently completed Spring Valley wind farm.

Gust Electric was one of many northern Nevada construction firms to land work at the state’s first wind farm. Pattern Energy of San Francisco developed the 151-megawatt wind farm and last week commenced commercial operations at the facility. The company expects to begin delivering full power to NV Energy in coming weeks, Chief Executive Officer Mike Garland says.

Gust landed a hodge-podge of work at the site. In addition to grounding out the tower footings each of the 60-foot octagonal pads took 460 yards of concrete Gust also wired the project yard, office trailers and warehousing facilities used during the construction phase. The company later wired an operations and maintenance building and 6,000-square-foot control room.

Technology Center of Sparks provided all the servers and other computer equipment for the control room.

Curtis Jones, president of Technology Center, says his firm began shipping parts about two UPS-sized box trucks worth to the Gust Electric yard months in advance of a two-day blitz to hook up and wire all the critical computer components.

“Everything was just really tight right down the line to get it done,” Jones says.

Another of the biggest challenges the small Sparks firm faced, Jones says, was working from of a parts list that had been developed three years earlier when the wind farm first was conceived.

Certain crucial pieces of equipment on that list, he says, had become outdated or discontinued. Change orders had to travel a circuitous route for approval: From Technology Center to Gust Electric to general contractor Mortensen Construction to Pattern Energy’s engineering team and back.

Schell Creek Construction of Fernley built the operations and maintenance building, and Acha Construction of Elko providing fencing and dirtwork. Ahlvers Plumbing and Heating of Ely did the HVAC work.