Summit Wind Farm

Sargent & Lundy supports major modernization of decades-old California wind farm to increase power output and improve efficiency

Summit Wind Farm
Altamont Pass, Alameda County, California
Client: Altamont Winds LLC

Project Highlights:

  • A total of 23 wind turbine generators having a combined nameplate capacity of 57.5 megawatts replace 569 vintage 100-kilowatt wind turbines.
  • The repowered wind farm will produce enough clean energy to power roughly 30,000 homes per year.
  • Construction of the project at its peak involved over 100 jobs.

Project Description:

Altamont Winds LLC engaged Sargent & Lundy as Owner’s Engineer and site management for the Summit Wind Farm in the high wind resource area of Altamont Pass in Alameda County, California.

The project entailed replacing 569 older 100-kilowatt wind turbines with new efficient state-of-the-art turbines. The 23 modern GE 2.5 MW wind turbine generators (WTGs) have a combined nameplate capacity of 57.5 megawatts (MW).

The Sargent & Lundy team oversaw construction and site management services as well as the contractor’s day-to-day work activities, budgets, schedule, QC/QA design review, and weekly and monthly reporting to owners. Assisted in securing required permits from a vast number of agencies— the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, both the U.S. and California Department of Fish and Wildlife, and Zone 7 California Department of Water Resources, among others.

The project’s general contractor was Dick Anderson Construction, which has experience in several similar wind projects. Mountain Crane performed the erection scope, Ford Construction led the civil works, Rocky Mountain Constructors delivered the Project’s two substations, Christenson managed the tower wiring scope, and Rosendin installed the collection system. The 23 new turbines were supplied, delivered, and commissioned by General Electric. The type of turbines used for the Summit Wind Farm have been installed in many projects and are operating with high reliability. Civil construction entailed developing the laydown yards, stripping sites, installing sub-drains, excavation keyways, removal of existing foundations, building all new access roads, and wind turbine foundations.

Having commenced major construction in the summer of 2019, the project team successfully installed roads, foundations, and collection systems. Since earthmoving work is not permitted by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife and the Alameda County in this environmentally sensitive area during the November through March rainy season, major construction was delayed between in both 2019/20 and 2020/21. When the project commenced again in late April of 2020 it successfully continued through the global pandemic with all safety measures noted by the CDC, state, and county.

The wind farm connects to the PG&E electrical grid at two new substations also built as part of the project. The existing transmission lines to the site were utilized for interconnection.

The project team has erected all 23 turbines, replaced the two substations, and pre-commissioned the wind farm. Now with the installation of a new fiber optic communication line by a large telecommunications company, the wind farm is being commissioned and getting ready for commercial operation.

With safety as a primary focus, the project implemented a “zero accident policy.” Every worker on site was required to complete comprehensive safety training. In addition, monitors were employed to ensure compliance with all relevant environmental, biological, and cultural/archeological aspects of the project.

Project Scope:

Sargent & Lundy provided the following services as owner's engineer:

  • Construction management services.
  • Site management services.
  • Oversight of the contractor’s day-to-day work activities, budgets, schedule, QC/QA design review, and weekly and monthly reporting to owners.
  • Permitting support.
  • Safety awareness and training.
  • Compliance with relevant environmental, biological, and cultural/archeological aspects.

Schedule Milestones:

  • Major Construction Start: July 2019
  • Expected Commercial Operation Date: April 2021

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