Olsson Associates


Olsson proves to be a ‘power house’ for fast-paced wind project

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Gabrielle Lazaro, Communications

Olsson Associates recently finished American Land Title Association (ALTA) survey services for the Grande Prairie Wind Farm, a Geronimo Energy development, in roughly one-sixth of the average time it takes to complete these services.

“The biggest challenges were an aggressive timeline and collaboration among different offices,” said Grand Island Survey Group Leader Jai Andrist. “Normally, we complete these surveys in 10 months. After starting the surveying work in early January, Geronimo Energy came to us in mid-February and asked us if we could expedite the project and complete the ALTA surveys by March 25, which, at the time, was roughly six weeks away.”

Geronimo Energy is a wind and solar energy developer. Its Grande Prairie Wind Farm is under development in northeast Nebraska’s Holt County. This proposed 400-megawatt wind farm will host between 150 and 266 wind turbines with a 14-mile aboveground transmission line. It will also encompass approximately 55,000 acres.

A section corner found onsiteJai said another challenge about this project was using numerous people from multiple Olsson offices to meet a deadline for the client. Olsson was also working closely with Holt County surveyor, Steve Rasmussen.

"We put a lot on Steve’s shoulders with all the section corners we needed him to reestablish,” said Jai. “Olsson’s field and office staff members assisted him in reestablishing the missing section corners that were needed to complete the ALTA surveys by the deadline.”

Olsson teams also completed topographic surveys of all the physical features needed for the surveys and reviewed title commitments, deeds, easements, and drafting in order to provide complete ALTA surveys for Geronimo Energy.

Survey crews in the field came from Olsson’s South Sioux, Omaha, Holdrege, and Grand Island, Nebraska, offices. Olsson also took advantage of employees’ drafting capabilities by calling on Olsson’s CAD technicians in Des Moines, Iowa; and South Sioux, Omaha, Lincoln, Holdrege, and Grand Island, Nebraska.

Photo of a GPS pole in a hole that was dug through the frozen county road to locate the section corner.Jai said that another challenge for Olsson was the adverse weather conditions. When he and Olsson’s Ryan Beckman first approached Geronimo Energy in January to propose that Olsson complete the work, weather conditions were cold, snowy, and the ground was frozen two to three feet deep.

Out of the four most recent wind farm projects constructed in Nebraska, Olsson has worked on three of them. In particular, staff members previously worked with Geronimo Energy’s Project Manager Patrick Dalseth on the Nebraska Public Power District (NPPD) Renewable Wind Farms project involving Laredo Ridge Wind Farm, located near Petersburg.

“In 2013, Geronimo Energy acquired the development assets of Patrick’s former company, Midwest Wind Energy. Concurrent with that transaction, Patrick went to work for Geronimo Energy,” Jai said. “We had great experience – and we’ve got an excellent working relationship with Patrick.”

In the near future when the project goes to construction, Olsson is also hoping to provide as-built surveys and environmental compliance services before the project is completed in 2015.

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