There was not even a puff of wind strong enough to mess the hair as thousands of people flocked to the Northern Southland township of Mossburn yesterday to enjoy an open day at the South Island’s first wind farm.
Meridian project manager Paul Wilson said 5000 people were expected to take a tour of the White Hills site as 15 buses ferried people from Mossburn and return throughout the day.
People were herded into sheep pens on the side of the road as they waited for the buses but elsewhere there was plenty of fun and entertainment for visitors as a carnival atmosphere enveloped the town.
Mr Wilson said eight of 29 turbines had been completed, with initial generation expected to begin in early May. The farm should be at full generation by the end of June, he said.
The turbines formed an imposing sight and visitors were able to take photos and ask questions about the construction and operation of the farm.
Mr Wilson said once it was operational, just four people would be based at the site to maintain the turbines.
Generation would be monitored at Meridian’s control centre at Twizel, he said.
Electricity would be sent from the farm along PowerNet’s network to North Makarewa and to Te Anau where it would power about 30,000 homes.
Extra generation could also be fed from Invercargill back to the national grid, Mr Wilson said.
KEY FACTS ABOUT WHITE HILL
Capacity 58MW from 29 turbines, each 2MW, producing enough power for approximately 30,000 homes
Towers 3 sections: base 6.6m in length, 32 tonnes; middle 29m, 58 tonnes; top 29.1m, 37 tonnes
Nacelle 10m in length, 65.7 tonnes
Blades 3, each 39m in length, approximately 6.5 tonnes each.
Hub 4.2m high, 18.2 tonnes
Foundations 380 cubic metres of concrete, about 55 truck loads
Underground cabling 26km of 22 kV
Transmission line 33km of 66 kV
By Karen Arnold – The Southland Times
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