Sustainability Group Awards Two Wind Energy Projects in Iowa With Highest Ratings

OVERLAND PARK, Kan.–()–Of the many wind energy projects in the United States, only three are verified as sustainable by the Institute for Sustainable Infrastructure. Recently, two of them — developed by power generation and distribution provider Alliant Energy with support from Black & Veatch as owner’s engineer – were the first wind projects ever to achieve the Envision Platinum rating, the highest rating from the Institute.

The Upland Prairie and English Farms wind energy projects were recently evaluated by the Institute using a framework called Envision to measure the projects across economic, social and environmental indicators. Envision is used by owners to promote informed choices about sustainability and resilience in each phase of an infrastructure project.

The Upland Prairie and English Farms projects have a total of 190 turbines with a combined capacity of 470 megawatts, enough to meet the yearly power needs of approximately 168,000 average Iowa homes. In its evaluation, the Institute said the projects went “above and beyond” in terms of their community, quality of life, planning, management, materials, energy, emissions and water indicators.

Notable was the selection of high-performance and low-noise turbines that served to reduce the number of turbines required per project and minimize disturbances to nearby communities and the surrounding environment. The benefits extend to farmers who earn income by leasing land to the projects and to the local counties and schools via increased property taxes due to the improved land.

These and other elements, including road improvements and locally appropriate landscaping, helped the projects earn Envision Platinum awards. Black & Veatch led the Envision application strategy and coordinated the efforts of the various project participants. Upland Prairie and English Farms are also the only wind energy projects to date that have achieved Platinum status.

The Institute for Sustainable Infrastructure provides an uncompromising, independent review and verification of a project’s impacts,” said Matt Barbian, who served as the project manager for Black & Veatch. “Using Envision helped Alliant Energy develop truly sustainable assets with measurable economic, community and environmental benefits.”

Editor’s notes:

  • The Envision framework evaluates project sustainability across five categories – quality of life, leadership, resource allocation, natural world, and climate and resilience – to drive positive social, economic and environmental impacts.
  • The Upland Prairie and English Farms projects are part of Alliant Energy’s strategy to increase its renewable energy portfolio to 33 percent by 2024, including investment of $1.8 billion in wind energy through 2020. Project components include turbines, substations, operations centers, electrical collection lines, access roads, and meteorological towers.
  • For each project, Black & Veatch served as the owner’s engineer, White Construction as the contractor, General Electric as the turbine supplier, and OPN Architects as the operations center designer.
  • Black & Veatch has been supporting onshore and offshore wind project development and implementation since 1975 and is executing balance of plant EPC scope for a 150 MW wind farm in Illinois. The company is also serving as owner’s engineer for multiple wind repower programs.

About Black & Veatch

Black & Veatch is an employee-owned, global leader in building critical human infrastructure in Energy, Water, Telecommunications and Government Services. Since 1915, we have helped our clients improve the lives of people in over 100 countries through consulting, engineering, construction, operations and program management. Our revenues in 2018 were US$3.5 billion. Follow us on www.bv.com and in social media.

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