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Strong winds a blow to turbine installation  

Credit:  By Stu Oldham, Otago Daily Times, www.odt.co.nz 8 January 2011 ~~

The frustrating wait seemed to confirm TrustPower had a good spot for its wind farm.

High winds yesterday meant engineers could not install the first turbine column delivered to the Mahinerangi wind farm.

Workers sheltered beside the 28.7m-long base and 24.3m middle sections of No 9 turbine as a calm early morning turned to bluster.

TrustPower project engineer Stewart Reid said the wind was blowing about 18m a second near the top of the 65m-high, 180-tonne crane.

The wind was too strong for the easy installation of the 76-tonne base and 43-tonne middle sections.

The 12-strong installation crew hoped the wind would die down early this morning so they could finally start the first of a dozen column installations, Mr Reid said.

Construction supervisor Greg Edwards, from turbine manufacturer Vestas, said a section could be installed on its concrete foundation within a couple of hours.

Mr Edwards, who spent who spent four years working on the Tararua wind farm in the Manawatu, said the columns arrived in self-contained modules to reduce the amount of work done on site.

“We are working in windy conditions, .. so we need to have components that can be installed in small windows of opportunity. We’ve just got to wait for the wind to drop to get that opportunity and then we’re into getting this part of the project under way.”

Each tower’s controller and switch gear unit was already inside the concrete foundation, waiting for the hollow sections to be lifted into place.

A ladder runs the length of the interior of both sections, ready for turbine crew to run the high-voltage cable from the turbine to the base.

It would take longer to install the turbine and complete the fitout than it would take to install the columns, but the crew would be split between jobs as more sections were set in place.

“Once we get started, things fall into place very quickly – even if we do lose a little bit of time to the wind.”

Another convoy of three trucks and pilot vehicles is scheduled to leave Dunedin’s Leith St wharf at 4am today.

It will probably travel along the Southern motorway and State Highway 87 before taking Mahinerangi Rd and the Eldorado Track.

Source:  By Stu Oldham, Otago Daily Times, www.odt.co.nz 8 January 2011

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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