November 7, 2015
New Zealand

Bigger and taller: new Brooklyn wind turbine coming in March

November 7, 2015 |

News from Meridian
Meridian has signed a contract with a turbine manufacturer for a new wind turbine on the Brooklyn hill. It will have greater generation capacity (around 3,900 megawatt hours a year – enough to power around 490 average homes).

In order to prepare the Brooklyn site for the new turbine, the existing turbine will be dismantled and removed in early December. In January work will begin on building the new turbine foundations before the arrival of the new turbine in late March. The new turbine should be generating by mid April.

The decision to investigate a replacement to the aging Brooklyn turbine was made by Meridian after mechanical issues put it out of action for several months.

News from Meridian Energy – July 30, 2014
Meridian Energy has been granted resource consent to replace the 21-year-old Brooklyn Wind Turbine. The Brooklyn Wind Turbine situated on Polhill, near Brooklyn in Wellington, has reached the end of its practical operating life.

In October last year Meridian applied to the Wellington City Council for resource consent to replace the current 45m turbine with a new turbine up to 77m in height (from ground to tip). A resource consent hearing was held in May and resource consent for a new turbine was approved late last month. A subsequent three-week period followed to allow for any appeals to the Environment Court but none were received, meaning Meridian can now proceed with the project.

Meridian General Manager of External Relations Guy Waipara says getting resource consent for a new Brooklyn turbine is great news for Meridian and Wellington.

“The current turbine has become iconic. It is part of the cityscape and is valued by the local community and the wider Wellington region. The importance of the turbine was highlighted in 2009 when it was out of service due to mechanical issues. A public campaign asking people whether they wanted to repair, replace or get rid of the turbine, showed 85% wanted to repair or replace it.”

Guy says the increase in the size of a new turbine takes in to account that modern turbines have generally increased in both size and generation capability since the original Brooklyn Wind Turbine was introduced 21 years ago.

The current turbine produces about 870 megawatt hours a year. The new turbine would generate around 3,900 megawatt hours a year – enough to power around 490 average New Zealand homes.

The original Brooklyn Wind Turbine was installed for research purposes but Guy says any replacement turbine would need to have a commercial return. “In the last 20 years turbine technology has developed significantly and there are now different designs available that are more efficient and generally bigger.”

A new turbine will sound different to the old one but the sound levels will be substantially the same and still within the New Zealand noise standard recommended levels, he says.

The construction of a new turbine is planned for 2015 and will take about 10 weeks. The budget to replace the turbine is $2.5 – $3m.

Background information

The Brooklyn turbine was the first commercial-sized wind turbine in New Zealand. Sited at the top of Polhill in the Wellington suburb of Brooklyn, it was commissioned by Meridian’s predecessor Electricorp in March 1993 to:

determine how a commercial wind turbine performed in harsh wind conditions, to gauge public reaction to the concept of wind generation, and to gain experience in the operation and maintenance of a wind turbine.

The turbine was given a 15-year resource consent that expired in January 2008. The Wellington City Council granted a further five-year consent, which expired in March 2013.

In November 2009, the turbine suffered damage to its yaw drive which saw it out of action for six months. This led to a discussion about the turbine and whether it should be repaired.

Given its iconic status as a tourist attraction and being part of the city landscape, Meridian asked Wellingtonians whether they thought the turbine should be repaired or removed. The public started a save the Brooklyn Wind Turbine Facebook page and a Dominion Post reader survey showed 85% wanted to repair or replace it while just 15% wanted to get rid of it.

In May 2010, Meridian’s then CEO Tim Lusk published an open letter to Wellingtonians committing to repairing and keeping the turbine operating. Meridian repaired the turbine, but as it was approaching the end of its design and economic life, a decision was made to investigate replacing it. A land lease extension was approved by the Wellington City Council in late 2012 and finalised in early 2013.

Wellington.Scoop – November 26, 2013
The Wellington City Council today called for public submissions on Meridian Energy’s plan to build a new, bigger, taller wind turbine in Brooklyn. The proposal states that the replacement of the Brooklyn Wind Turbine will require the following activities:

The removal of the existing 45-metre high turbine and the construction of a new turbine with a height of up to 77 metres (from ground to blade tip)

Earthworks of 220m³ to create a foundation for the replacement turbine and cuts of up to 1 metre in height along the access road to the site to allow for transportation of turbine components

The continued use of the existing interpretive centre, carparking, vehicle manoeuvring area and automated gate

Replacement of the existing transformer, underground cables and overhead transmission lines.

Wellington.Scoop – November 5 2013
Meridian has applied for resource consent to build a bigger, taller wind turbine in Brooklyn. Due to increased maintenance activities and costs, and aging technology, the existing turbine is reaching the end of its life.

The company has advised Brooklyn residents that the replacement will be a fully supported, reliable turbine from which greater electricity generation can be achieved. The current turbine produces about 870MWh a year. The new one would generate around 3900MWh a year – enough to power around 490 average New Zealand homes.

The proposed turbine would be bigger than the existing one. The current turbine is 45m tall and Meridian is applying for resource consent for a replacement turbine of up to 77 metres. This increase takes in to account that modern turbines have generally increased in size and generation capability since the original Brooklyn wind turbine was introduced 20 years ago. West Wind turbines are 111 metres.

Meridian says it has been talking to the Brooklyn community and to stakeholders. It also held an Open Day and attended the Brooklyn Community Showcase, which attracted several hundred people. It says it found that interest in the replacement wind turbine was high. Most people expressed support for a turbine to remain in Brooklyn, as they felt it was now an icon. Some people were concerned at the potential to remove the turbine altogether.

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