Burns & McDonnell land
acquisition, permitting and design
specialists helped OG&E meet a
deadline to deliver wind power.
Transmitting Wind Power
A LOT ON THE LINE
Wind power offers the hope of and construct the line — a process that commissioners and state authorities to gain
clean, sustainable energy — and normally could take years. permission to locate the line along those
carries tax and public relations corridors. Meanwhile, engineers designed
incentives. The key is to get the Solutions the line structure. As a section of line was
OG&E had done preliminary routing work permitted and designed, contractors were on
power where it’s needed — and
in-house, but faced with a stringent deadline site, ready to begin construction.
OG&E needed to get it there fast. imposed by the contract, it called for
reinforcements — Burns & McDonnell land “We just tried our best to stay one step ahead
Demand for renewable energy exceeds the
acquisition, permitting and design specialists. of the contractor,” Evans says.
available supply, so a new 120-megawatt wind
farm project is on OG&E Electric Services’
“Burns & McDonnell has a long-term One-on-One Negotiation
fast track. Approved by state regulators in
relationship with OG&E,” says project Even with the use of existing right-of-way, the
Oklahoma in late April, the wind farm is
manager Josh Evans. “They knew that if we line had to go through private property. With
expected to be in full production by year-end.
took the job on, we’d get it done.” no time for the usual public announcement
and public meetings, the Burns & McDonnell
Path of Least Resistance land acquisition team faced an uphill battle.
A critical component of the project is a
Scientists worked quickly to complete
35-mile, 138-kV transmission line needed
wetlands and cultural resources surveys. By “We had to knock on doors and get permission
to connect the new, 80-turbine wind farm
researching and comparing maps, routing, from landowners,” Evans says. Land
to OG&E’s power grid in northwestern
permitting and engineering staff identified acquisition specialists hit the streets to talk
Oklahoma. OG&E had just eight months to
existing rights-of way for roads and other with individual landowners and address their
route, permit, design, acquire right-of-way
facilities. They worked closely with county concerns on a case-by-case basis.
15 2006 No. 4
Engineers hit a roadblock when the proposed
route put the transmission poles between
two underground fiber optic lines and a gas
line. With nowhere to go, the line had to cross
pasture through which the landowner had
previously refused easements.
The team’s engineers and land acquisition
specialists met with the landowner, explained
that the line had to go through, and asked
how that could be achieved. The landowner
wanted to move the line to run along the back,
rather than the front, of his house.
Engineers and CAD staff quickly made the
change and continued to work with routing
specialists to adjust plans daily as design,
permitting and construction proceeded
When the Oklahoma Department of
Transportation realized that the route
would pass through a storage area where
materials for maintenance and repair of state
property were located, engineers added angle
structures to jog the line around the area
and installed guards around poles to warn
“Everyone worked together,” Evans says. “There
was incredible cooperation between the local
authorities, the residents and the members of
A new 35-mile, 138-kV transmission line was
the team.” needed to connect wind turbines to the grid.
Amazingly, all the needed land was acquired
with no condemnations, and construction
was completed Sept. 7, 2006.
“Burns & McDonnell responded quickly to our
request for design services on the wind farm
transmission line project,” says Gale L. Towery,
lead project manager, OG&E Electric Services.
“Their team handled all aspects of right-of-way
and permit acquisition, as well as line design,
allowing us to concentrate on other aspects of
this high-profile, fast-track project.”
For more information, contact Leslie Duke,
Routing the line along existing rights-of-way helped speed permitting.
BURNS & McD ONNELL 16