The 148MW Blue Cloud wind energy facility will be equipped with 43 Vestas V126-3.45MW onshore wind turbines. Image courtesy of TGCP.
Electricity from the Blue Cloud wind farm will be fed into the Southwest Power Pool market via connection to the Needmore substation. Image courtesy of Alessandra Lobo.

Blue Cloud wind energy project is a 148MW onshore wind farm under construction in Bailey and Lamb Counties of Texas, US.

Being developed with an estimated investment of $225m, the Blue Cloud wind farm will be owned and operated by a special purpose company named Blue Cloud Wind Energy LLC, which is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners (CIP).

The project was initially undertaken by US-based company Tri Global Energy, which sold it to CIP in July 2016.

The Blue Cloud wind energy project reached financial closure and commenced construction, after CIP announced equity investment in the project through Copenhagen Infrastructure II K/S Fund in March 2018.

Blue Cloud is CIP’s second equity investment in the US onshore wind market, after the 196.7MW Bearkat I wind farm in Glasscock County, Texas, which commenced operation in December 2017.

The first shipment of the Blue Cloud wind turbine components reached Texas in July 2018. Scheduled to commence operation by the end of 2018, the wind farm will generate enough clean energy to power approximately 56,000 US households a year, over its estimated operational life of 25 years.

Blue Cloud wind farm make-up

Spread over 19,000 leased acres of privately-owned farm land within Sudan Independent School District (ISD) in Lamb and Bailey counties, the 148MW Blue Cloud wind farm will consist of 43 V126-3.45MW onshore wind turbines from Vestas.

Each direct drive turbine, with 126m rotor diameter and three 61.7m-long blades, will have a swept area of 12,469m².

The cut-in and cut-out wind speeds of each turbine will be  3m/s and 22.5m/s, respectively.

Designed to operate at frequencies between 50Hz and 60Hz in locations with medium wind speeds, each turbine of the Blue Cloud wind farm will have a rated capacity of 3.45MW.

The project also includes the development of supporting infrastructure such as 19.3km of access roads for turbines, 12.8km of public road improvements, 28km of crane paths, 39.4km of underground collection cable, a substation, and an operation and maintenance facility.

Power off-take from Blue Cloud wind farm

The energy generated by the wind farm will be fed into the Southwest Power Pool market, as part of a Generator Interconnection Agreement (GIA) with Southwestern Public Service (SPS) and Southwest Power Pool (SPP) in 2016.

Electricity transmission

Blue Cloud wind farm will be connected to the Needmore substation by means of a 230kV transmission line.

Contractors involved with the Blue Cloud wind energy project

Black & McDonald is the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contractor for the project and is responsible to deliver the Balance of the Plant (BOP) works for the wind farm.

Vestas was awarded the turbine supply contract for the Blue Cloud wind farm in March 2018. The contractual scope also includes provision of operation and maintenance services for a period of 25 years.

Timmons Group was contracted for civil engineering, surveying, electrical design services and construction materials testing (CMT) for the project.

SMIT Transformatoren was contracted for the transformer engineering, procurement and supply contract.

Energy Renewal Partners (ERP) provided environmental and consulting services for the project.

Wireless Innovations was engaged for wind data measurement for the project, while V-Bar was hired for wind data storage and verification.

AWS Truepower was engaged to carry out wind and site analysis studies for the project.

BARR Engineering was responsible for geotechnical surveys, while SWCA carried out  environmental and habitat studies for the project.