NEWKIRK — Large wind turbines and electrical power lines have been slowly rising out of the Kay County prairie since last spring, promising to create much-needed electricity with the help of the Oklahoma wind. That project in now nearing completion, with much of the final turbine construction focusing on the Newkirk area.
On May 14, 2019, Kay County Commissioners entered into a road use agreement with Duke Energy Renewables to construct its second wind farm in Kay County. Frontier II is a 350-megawatt, 74 turbine windfarm with 36 miles of county gravel road upgraded to meet heavy construction needs. A 15-acre lay down yard was prepared on the Wardlow Farm at LaCann and Brake Road. Office complexes, equipment and a portable concrete batch plant were placed on this site.
An average of 775 yards of concrete was poured over 65 tons of assembled rebar per tower site base. More than 60,000 yards of concrete was poured on the entire project.
As the tower tubes, nacelles and blades were being assembled, 72 miles of an underground gathering grid was being installed to bring all turbine sited electricity to a newly-built substation on the Horinek farm at LaCann and Adobe Road. Seven and one-half miles of overhead transmission lines were installed from this substation west to a point of contact to market the electricity produced. About 450 people have worked on this project at various phases of construction. Mostly out-of-town workers were on the site, but whenever possible, local contractors were used for fence work, welding and metal fabrication, dirt work and laborers.
On Dec. 4, the last of the blades were installed on the Leah Barth farm to complete the 51 towers in District Number One. As of this writing, seven towers have been completed in District Number Two, with 16 sites left to be assembled. COVID-19 as slowed the progression of this project since March of this year, not only the everyday health of the workers here in Kay County, but worldwide, which slowed down production and transportation of the components needed to complete this project.
Wind blades are the most needed component now to finish this project, which now may extend into early 2021.
With the completion of each 598-ft. turbines, those flashing red lights re beginning to appear in the darkness of night.