With the construction of the Amazon Wind Farm U.S. Central, nearly 150 wind turbine blades are being transported to Paulding County from the Port of Toledo by rail and truck. Recently, some of the trucks were stopped at the U.S. 24 and Ohio 49 interchange. Here, a truck hauling a blade is parked on a U.S. 24 ramp, dwarfing a passing semi. Photo courtesy Jack Webb.
By JOE SHOUSE

Progress Staff Writer


PAYNE – Construction on the Amazon Wind Farm U.S. Central is in full force since breaking ground in June.

Amazon Web Services Inc. (AWS), an Amazon.com company, has contracted with EDP Renewables to construct and operate the wind farm with its 48 new turbines, located in Harrison Township north of Payne.

Each turbine will produce 2.1 megawatts and will total 100.8 megawatts for the entire project. The energy generated will be used to supply current and future AWS Cloud data centers, according to the Amazon Web Services website.

Construction costs are estimated at $200 million.

“The project is on scheduled and we plan to be in operation by the end of the year,” said Erin Bowser, director of project management for EDP.

There has been some delay in transporting the large blades on site.

The turbine components are manufactured by Gamesa Corporation and are being delivered by rail or truck, according to Bowser. In recent days, transportation has come to a standstill at U.S. 24 and Ohio 49 where the trucks are not able to make the necessary turn to continue south to the site area.

“There has been some challenges in our transportation. Gamesa, our turbine supplier, has the permits for the route used, but since we have endured some issues we are working with the Ohio Department of Transportation and the State Highway Patrol to secure a safe and proper route. It takes lots of coordination with everyone involved, but everyone is working well together,” Bowser said.

Along with the huge blades, there are 48 nacelles being transported to Paulding County. A nacelle is a cover housing that includes all of the generating components in a wind turbine, including the hub, generator, gearbox, drive train and brake assembly – the main guts of the turbine. The trio of blades connects to to the hub.

The work associated with the construction is varied and therefore a wide variety of workers are necessary from start to finish. The work force connected to the construction of the entire project can be as many as 200 on a given day.

“It’s hard to say how many are working on the project because some work for a few day while others work longer periods of time. However, the tax agreement that we have in place with the county requires that 50 percent of the employees must be Ohio residents,” said Bowser.

It’s estimated the new annual property tax generated from the 48 turbines will be $900,000 and will be distributed to the county, township and school districts.

AWS has a long-term commitment to achieve 100 percent renewable energy usage for its global infrastructure footprint. The energy generated by its Amazon Wind Farm US Central, Amazon Wind Farm US East, Amazon Solar Farm US East and Amazon Wind Farm Fowler Ridge will be responsible for delivering more than 1.6 million MWh of additional renewable energy annually.

The energy produced from these projects is enough to power roughly the equivalent of 150,000 U.S. homes annually, which is slightly larger than the size of the city of Cleveland. The first, Amazon Wind Farm Fowler Ridge in Indiana, went on line in January.