Components for Mercury’s Turitea wind farm on the Tararua Range above Palmerston North are arriving in a Keith St yard next to the historic power station.
Almost 100 turbine blades have already been delivered from Taranaki to Rangitīkei St, while hubs, nacelles and drive trains were on their way daily from Napier to Keith St.
Within a month, all the major parts for the 60-turbine, $450 million wind farm will be in New Zealand.
The transmission line for the wind farm is almost complete and visible from the city, and the tower bases for the northern group of turbines are starting to rise from their foundations.
But Vestas senior project manager Kenn Wood still has one puzzle to get the whole thing together.
That is the challenge of getting the giant 55-metre blades up the hill.
An access road under construction to bypass the tightest bends on the Pahīatua Track slipped at the end of August, suspending progress.
Wood told a community liaison group in the city last week he had not given up on the shortcut.
The earth movement had slowed down, the soils had dried out and further geotechnical tests would be carried out to see if it was still possible to come up with an engineering solution.
Meantime, the options for an alternative route for the blades are being investigated.
Mercury project director Dennis Radich said the difficulties with getting the blades to the site were not delaying construction, yet.
The timeline for completion of the northern stage had slipped by about six months following the Covid-19 lockdown, which suspended siteworks, and wet weather.
The first of the turbine towers would be ready to have the blades attached in February.
It was confirmed in November last year that the second and southern stage of the development would go ahead immediately following work on the northern set.
Once work on the transmission line to Brown’s Flat is completed, Mercury has a plan to re-vegetate 10 hectares of former farmland there to compensate for the roads and tower sites that could not be returned to nature.
Seedlings were already being nurtured for the first round of planting to establish cover, with a second round of native plantings planned once protection from the elements was established.
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