With more than 4,000 megawatts of wind turbines to be installed within an 100-mile radius by the end of 2017, Kreigh Valkenaar of Southlake-based Transportation Technology Services says Plainview was the obvious choice for the company’s new distribution center.
“There’s so many things going for you,” Valkenaar said Friday. “There’s I-27 going north and south, and U.S. 70 east and west. There’s the rail access, and an abundance of flat land and hard surfaces. It’s really perfect for us.”
TTS, which has operated at least 30 rail-adjacent distribution centers and remote DCs during the past eight years, according to its corporate website, will soon be operating a DC in Plainview.
While a formal announcement has not yet been made, preliminary groundwork has started on the site which is adjacent to the BNSF freight yard north of U.S. 70 on Country Road Y. The site is north of Pete’s Palladium and east of the County Services Ltd. (Plainview Bi-Products).
Valkenaar said the company has purchased 25 acres of land on the north side of the BNSF tracks, with an option on an additional 10 acres. They also have access to seven acres on the east side of CR Y.
The company already operates a distribution center for wind turbine components at Sunray. It will remain open, Valkenaar said, although at this point it appears the Plainview facility will handle a much higher percentage of wind energy projects in the region.
A formal groundbreaking ceremony at the Plainview location, followed by a luncheon, will be held Wednesday, Feb. 25.
“We’re just now starting the prep work,” Valkenaar said, “but it should be ready in four to six weeks. We still need to bring in electrical service as well as portable buildings or trailers for offices.”
According to company statistics, TTS has touched more wind turbines than any other logistics company North American. They manage between 7,000 to 8,000 wind-related rail shipments each year, including nacelles, hubs, blades and towers.
The TTS distribution center will be Plainview’s second wind-related off-loading facility. Energy Transportation, Inc., has been utilizing the circular rail yard adjacent to Azteca Milling, south of Plainview, as its distribution center since last summer. It also has been off-loading and storing blades and other components at another rail loop north of Plainview near the Agri-Producers Grain Corp. elevator.
Valkenaar stressed that having rail off-loading facilities as close to construction sites of wind turbines is an economic necessity due to high trucking costs.
Moving the various components by truck costs between $15 and $60 per mile, he says. “There also is a very limited supply” of the trucks and oversized trailers needed to move some of the larger components such as the long blades.
“I’m looking at a spread sheet right now that shows there will be 4,080 megawatts of wind turbines going in within a 100 miles of Plainview, and Plainview and Sunray are far enough apart that they will both be able to serve a large area.”
Valkenaar said his company is working closely with BNSF on the project. Other then perhaps moving a utility pole at the U.S. 70-CR Y intersection to accommodate the wide swing necessitated by moving some of the longer wind turbine components, and perhaps upgrading the road surface on CR Y, Valkenaar does not anticipate any significant infrastructure problems.
“The site for the new distribution center really appears ideal for our needs,” he said.