With Barr’s assistance, Avangrid, a long-time client, developed a series of wind farms on the northern part of Buffalo Ridge in South Dakota, which extends from that state through southwest Minnesota and into Iowa. As part of the site-selection process for the project, Barr performed a “desktop study” to evaluate the site’s conditions. Barr created this tool in 2006 to help wind energy developers better evaluate engineering risks and site feasibility for commercial-scale wind projects.
Using only available information, like library and Internet resources, we can often identify the potential for common geotechnical challenges—such as collapsible soils, karst (caves), and high groundwater levels—as well as engineering factors like gravel availability that can affect a site’s suitability for wind power development. We can also uncover conditions that may have a direct impact on project costs.
In this instance, Barr’s study was directed at addressing concerns raised by the South Dakota Public Utility Commission. The project was approved and went on to be constructed and put into operation. Avangrid began the first phase of the Buffalo Ridge wind farm in 2007, adding Buffalo Ridge II in 2010, with several subsequent phases.
Barr also provided permitting, civil, electrical, structural, construction-phase engineering and decommissioning planning services for these projects.