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Mechanical problems hit Te Apiti windfarm

Manawatu’s Te Apiti windfarm is having equipment problems two years after commissioning, but Meridian Energy says it is a normal shakedown of new kit.

Chief executive Keith Turner said a range of problems had occurred, including gearbox problems, where the bolts had not been tightened properly by the maker.

Assembly issues had also occurred, where the blades had to be rebalanced and there had been hairline cracking in some parts of the machinery. Turner said the problems were “the normal range of settling down issues”.

He said he still had confidence in the manufacturer Vestas, which supplied 35 per cent of the world’s wind turbines.

Meridian talked with many windfarm developers and they were experiencing similar problems .

Te Apiti is one of the windiest windfarm sites in the world. The wind speeds have drawn a cluster of windfarm developments to the area.

Turner said about five turbines were now shut with gearbox problems.

Meridian had prudently taken a five- year warranty on the turbines at Te Apiti from Denmark’s Vestas.

Turner said there was “a bathtub curve” associated with new power plant where problems occurred at the beginning and later in the plant’s life.