Wind Turbines to be Installed at Antarctic Facility

The Antarctic’s first large-scale wind turbine will be built to cope with blizzards in excess of 300 km/h. The Enercon units will generate 1 megawatt of electricity for Australia’s Mawson research station at the south pole.

CANBERRA, Australia, AU, 2001-09-07 [] The turbines are the first serious attempt by any country to obtain a significant supply of electricity from the world’s most powerful winds, the gravity-induced katabatic winds that howl down to the coast of Antarctica from the inland icecap, explains Australia’s environment minister Robert Hill. The turbines will be provided by Enercon of Germany, and installed by the company’s Australian agents, Powercorp Pty Ltd, of Darwin. “The Mawson system will generate well over ten times the power of existing Antarctic wind-power systems while having a much lower environmental impact than the current option of diesel fuel now used throughout Antarctica,” says Hill. “When the system is fully developed, an Antarctic station will, for the first time, be able to use a renewable source to meet virtually all its energy needs.” He says the current use of diesel fuel to power Australia’s activities at the southern continent was far from ideal, from an environmental perspective. “The use of fossil fuel requires that it be transported from ship to shore, and stored at stations before being used, and while we have minimized the risks of spillage, it is always there,” he explains. “We have looked at renewable energy options, and the most obvious one is to draw on the power of Antarctica’s famous katabatic winds.”


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