Day 17 AM — Wind Energy Balance-of-Plant Design (New Textbook)

Today, I am taking a bit of time to talk to the professionals out there — those that have taken or wish to take courses in wind energy (for-credit options or of the short course variety) from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.  One of the major goals of this #BikeTheWind odyssey was to collect background information, photos, and perspectives for my upcoming Wind Energy Balance-of-Plant Design (Site Civil, Geotechnical, and Structural) text.  That has been accomplished and I am anxious to start working with chapter co-authors on this largely first-of-the-kind text this fall.

Completed formwork for wind turbine generator foundation at Glacier Hills Wind Park

Billions of dollars are invested each year to support the siting, design, and construction of wind energy facilities. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, this recent infrastructure investment in energy reliability and security and in our economy has produced an ever-expanding industry, with nearly 100,000 people employed in the U.S. The wind energy industry includes those involved in the engineering and construction professions of site development, permitting, site investigation and resource assessment, design, construction, and maintenance. The addition of these new power facilities is becoming more difficult as economic constraints increase and the civil, structural, and geotechnical conditions for sites become ever more complex and multi-faceted. With tower heights approaching 100 m and beyond, the access road, crane pad, and foundation design criteria are rapidly changing to meet the needs of wind facilities in all types of wind resource areas and topography.

This planned book will provide practical and design-oriented knowledge and calculation examples for the structural siting and engineering for the civil, mechanical, structural, geotechnical, construction, and electrical interconnect aspects for wind energy balance-of-plant design. The content includes:

  • Introduction to the science and mechanics of wind energy, including energy in the wind and resource assessment
  • Structural siting, site control, due diligence, and equipment procurement
  • The load document, site investigations, and geotechnical assessment
  • Site layout, micro-siting, and civil design
  • Foundation design for varied site geology and load conditions
  • Site civil infrastructure including access roads and crane pads
  • Design and layout of the collection system and interconnection to the substation
  • Interplay between tower structural design, transportation logistics, turbine installation and lift calculations, and foundation design
  • Construction management, project drivers, and construction quality assurance/control

At this point, the planned chapters (most to be co-written with an expert from industry) include:

  1. State of Practice: Clean, Domestic, Renewable Wind Energy
  2. Energy in the Wind
  3. Resource Assessment and Micro-Siting
  4. Environmental Due Diligence
  5. Site Control, Procurement, and Power Purchase Agreements
  6. Financial Pro Forma
  7. Site Geotechnical Investigation
  8. Structural Tower Design
  9. Tower and Blade Manufacture and Transportation Logistics
  10. Foundation Design
  11. Deep Foundation Design
  12. Reinforced Concrete Design
  13. Access Roads and Crane Pads
  14. Collector System Civil Design
  15. Construction Management
  16. Life Cycle Analysis

If you want more information about upcoming wind energy and renewable energy courses at the University of Wisconsin-Madison or want more information (or to collaborate) on the Balance-of-Plant text, including the planned schedule, please contact me (, I would love to hear from you.

I am excited to finally take on this long-visioned endeavor and hope that it will be a useful and valuable contribution to the industry!


One thought on “Day 17 AM — Wind Energy Balance-of-Plant Design (New Textbook)”

  1. Hi Jim:
    Just received the information on your bike/wind trip today. Have read back through your daily entries and have enjoyed the comments and “facts” about wind energy. Good stuff!
    I will be interested in getting the book you will be publishing. Sounds like much good information.
    Be safe on your trip back to Madison and thanks for sharing your experiences regarding this trip.
    Jim Gaskell — Gaskell Engineering


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