Missouri begins constructing wind farm

? On the rolling countryside outside this northwest Missouri agricultural community, construction of a new kind of farm is under way.

Bluegrass Ridge will be Missouri’s first major wind farm, converting the energy from moving air into enough electricity to power thousands of homes.

The $70 million project is a venture of Wind Capital Group, with financing from John Deere Wind Energy of Johnston, Iowa, a division of the Deere & Co. farm equipment manufacturer. Springfield-based Associated Electric Cooperative is to distribute the electricity through its network of cooperatives.

In the project’s first phase, crews are digging 16 holes, each about 17 feet wide and 34 feet deep, on several acres of leased farmland in southern Gentry County about 30 miles northeast of St. Joseph.

Each hole will serve as the base of a 260-foot tower equipped with a three-bladed propeller.

Eventually, wires will be strung from each tower to a series of cables that will travel underground carrying electrical power to a utility substation also being built on the site.

The company aims to have the first phase completed by October, with power being generated by the end of the year.