Windfarm Expansion Makes Good Progress
Tuesday 25 November, 2003
A lack of wind has made the erection of the first new towers at TrustPower's Tararua Windfarm a breeze, according to Community Relations Manager, Graeme Purches.
Fifty-three new turbines are being added to the Tararua Windfarm'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 tonnes 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-metre high towers and the generating units which sit on top cannot be carried out unless wind conditions are favourable, and in the last two days, they have been. The first tower was erected yesterday, and the second is being erected today, according to Mr Purches.
"The whole exercise is getting to the exciting stage, where new towers will be starting to sprout like giant lattice mushrooms. Our contractors would like to erect the third tower tomorrow, but weather predictions suggest that might be a little tricky. However, all going well, we should have three towers up by the end of this week, with the generating unit mounted on top of one of them."
At 32 MW capacity, TrustPower's Tararua windfarm is already the largest in Australasia, and the $60 million expansion will more than double its output. Statistically, the Tararua windfarm 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 favourable winds that blow, not too light and not to hard, most of the time.
Ironically, while favourable winds are the thing that TrustPower wants most of the time, they are the last thing needed when cranes are trying to life giant towers and generator units in place.
"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. So far, things have worked out really well, with the project running on time and on budget," Mr Purches says.
In addition to its Tararua windfarm expansion, TrustPower is progressing with other opportunities to add to its 100% sustainable generation portfolio of 33 hydro stations and one windfarm. The company has recently been granted planning approval by the South Australian Government for the construction of a windfarm near Adelaide, and is currently investigating other potential windfarm sites in both New Zealand and Australia.
Note for editors: A photograph of the first 40-metre tall towers being lifted into place is available for use if required. Please email me if required and I will attach it to the reply.