Hydropower, Project Development, Wind Power

Windless Days Aid Wind Farm Construction

Ironically, a lack of wind has made the easy and expedient erection of the first new towers at TrustPower’s Tararua Wind Farm possible. While favorable winds are the thing that the New Zealand-based electricity retailer and generator, TrustPower, wants most of the time, they are the last thing needed when cranes are trying to lift giant towers and generator units in place.

Tararua, New Zealand – December 1, 2003 [SolarAccess.com] “I guess the ideal over the next few months would be windy nights and balmy days, but we will just have to live with whatever nature sends us,” said TrustPower Community Relations Manager Graeme Purches. “So far, things have worked out really well, with the project running on time and on budget.” Fifty-three new turbines are being added to the Tararua Wind Farm’s existing 48. The first is due to generate power before Christmas, with the entire expansion due for completion in May next year. The project will provide sustainable power for a further 16,000 homes before next winter, at the same time offsetting approximately 70,000 ton of CO2 emissions each year, helping New Zealand to meet its responsibilities under the Kyoto climate change protocol. For safety reasons, erection of the 40-meter high towers and the generating units, which sit on top, cannot be carried out unless wind conditions are favorable; and recently, they have been. The first tower has been erected; and the second is under construction. “The whole exercise is getting to the exciting stage, where new towers will be starting to sprout like giant lattice mushrooms,” said Purches. According to Purches, at 32 MW capacity, TrustPower’s Tararua Wind Farm is already the largest in Australasia, and the NZD$60 million (US$38.5 million) expansion will more than double its output. Statistically, the Tararua wind farm site has proven to be one of the best in the world. Its turbines are able to generate well above the international average annual output, thanks to favorable winds that blow, not too light and not to hard, most of the time, said the company. In addition to its Tararua wind farm expansion, TrustPower is progressing with other opportunities to add to its 100 percent sustainable generation portfolio of 33 hydro stations and one wind farm. The company has recently been granted planning approval by the South Australian Government for the construction of a wind farm near Adelaide, New Zealand, and is currently investigating other potential wind farm sites in both New Zealand and Australia.