Meridian Energy’s White Hill wind farm in northern Southland could be generating power as early as May 7.
Project manager Paul Wilson said yesterday the wind farm, 6km from Mossburn, would initially generate enough electricity to power about 10,000 homes.
Twenty-three of the 29 turbines have been erected and, providing the weather plays its part, the remaining six are expected to be completed within about three weeks, although Mr Wilson said not all the turbines had to be up for the wind farm to become operational.
It was hoped it would be entirely up and running by the end of June, when just four workers would remain on site for weekday operation and maintenance purposes. The wind farm would also be monitored from Meridian Energy’s control centre at Twizel.
The state-owned enterprise was granted resource consent by the Southland District Council in 2004 to erect 42 1.65MW turbines, or 35 larger 2MW turbines.
It opted for the latter option, although at this stage only 29 turbines will be built, as there was not room for more on Powernet’s Southland distribution network.
Any decision to increase the number of turbines to the maximum 35 was at least 20 years away, Mr Wilson said.
Each turbine has a 67m high tower, with a base circumference of about 14m, which tapers to the top, and a three-blade rota, with a diameter of 80m.
The generator, transformer, gearbox and other electrical equipment are stored in a nacelle a rectangular box that turns to face the wind on each turbine and all cabling is underground.
Each complete turbine will be 107m tall similar in height to a 35-storey building.
The 2400ha wind farm site, of which Meridian owns about a quarter, will also house a substation and adjacent building. The rest of the land is owned by forestry company Ernslaw One and father-and-son farmers Michael and Simon Saunders.
All 29 turbines will generate enough electricity to power 30,000 households, or all Southland’s homes, through Powernet’s Southland distribution network.
Any additional energy will go into the national grid, via Trust-Power’s north Makarewa substation in central Southland.
The wind farm has been largely welcomed by northern Southland communities, with an open day at the site in February attracting about 5000 people.
The day raised funds for local community projects, with a cheque for $62,000 presented to Southland District Council allocations committee chairman Lyall Bailey in Mossburn yesterday.
By Jessica Maddock
Otago Daily Times
13 April 2007
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