New Zealanders Celebrate Wind Farm Expansion

At “Power On,” a recent media event designed to initiate and celebrate the expansion of the TrustPower Wind Farm in the Tararua District of New Zealand, Palmerston North Mayor Mark Bell-Booth, TrustPower officials, and media representatives gathered to witness the “connection” of the first of the 55 new turbines being installed during the wind farm expansion.

Tararua District, New Zealand – December 31, 2003 [SolarAccess.com] New Zealand jazz trombonist and bandleader, Rodger Fox was also present at the launch. Fox was on hand to blow his horn as a symbolic clarion call to herald the moment the first power from TrustPower’s Tararua wind farm expansion project started flowing down the power lines. At the 2004 Continuous Jazz Festival in Palmerston North, Roger will be relying upon his “wind power” in an attempt to set the world record for the longest continuous note played on a wind instrument. He said that his visit to the TrustPower Wind Farm would serve as excellent preparation for his upcoming attempt to merit registry in the next published edition of the Guinness Book of World Records. According to TrustPower’s Generation Division Manager, Mike Kedian, steady progress has been made installing new towers and turbine units, and despite some challenges posed by windier than expected conditions, the project is proceeding on time and on budget. “Strong winds such as we’ve had recently aren’t exactly ideal for lifting heavy equipment using tall cranes,” said Kedian. “But the contractors involved have successfully worked around that, allowing us to keep the project on track.” The expansion will increase the number of turbines on the Tararua site (which the company reports is already the largest project of its kind in New Zealand) from 48 to 103. The additional Vestas V-47 660kW Wind Turbines will increase the total wind farm output to 67.98 MW. According to TrustPower, the additional wind turbines will give the wind farm the capacity to supply more than 30,000 homes in the region. TrustPower, a New Zealand generator and retailer of renewable energy, said that the AUD$60 million (US$45.2 million) wind power expansion was made possible by the New Zealand government’s early granting of “Carbon Credits,” the Kyoto Protocol emission units. TrustPower praised the New Zealand government for recognizing that the expansion will help New Zealand avoid burning fossil fuels to meet its energy supply needs, and save up to 75,000 tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions each year. The wind farm is located in the Tararua Ranges south of the Manawatu Gorge. The site, located on 700 hectares of private land on a ridge of rolling hills, is also used for sheep and beef farming. It is 4 kilometers (km) northwest of the town of Pahiatua, in the Tarurua Disctrict of New Zealand. TrustPower said that this area of the Tararua Ranges is recognized as one of the best sites for a wind farm in New Zealand and ranks with the best sites in the world. The average wind speed on the site is approximately 35 km per hour with the wind speed above the minimum turbine operating level more than 85 percent of the time.

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