End of an era marks new beginning for Brooklyn wind turbine

Wellington’s iconic Brooklyn turbine is to be replaced by a turbine with greater generation capacity.

Meridian Energy, the owner of the Brooklyn turbine, today announced that it has signed a contract for a new turbine that will be generating electricity from Wellington’s world-famous wind in April.

Meridian External Relations Manager Guy Waipara says the new turbine will arrive in Wellington at the end of March. It’ll take about three weeks to have the turbine up and running. “We’re aiming for mid to late April for it to be generating electricity,” Guy says. “In the meantime, we’ll be doing some work over the next few months to prepare the Polhill site for the new turbine.

“We’re very excited that this is happening. The current turbine has become iconic. It is part of the cityscape and is valued by the local community and wider Wellington region,” says Guy.

Once the old turbine has been removed in December, work will start in early January next year to prepare the foundation for the new turbine, which is scheduled to arrive at Wellington’s CentrePort from Germany in late March.

Meridian will work with Brooklyn and Wellington residents to make sure that any disruption from the project is kept to a minimum.

There will be a few times during the next few months when access to mountain biking tracks and around the turbine site will be closed. But this will only be for short periods and people will be kept informed via notices on Meridian, Wellington City Council and Brooklyn Facebook pages. Mountain biking groups will also be contacted and there will be signage at the site and on access tracks to the turbine from Aro Street and Ashton Fitchett Drive.

Guy says the increase in the size of the new turbine takes into account that modern turbines have generally increased in both size and generation capability since the original Brooklyn turbine was installed 22 years ago.

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

The budget to replace the turbine is $2.9m.

Background

Commissioned by Meridian’s predecessor Electricorp for wind generation research in March 1993, the Brooklyn turbine was the first commercial-sized wind turbine in New Zealand.

The popularity 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.

In 2010, Meridian committed to repairing and keeping the turbine operating.

Based on the turbine’s age, Meridian investigated the viability of replacing it and applied for Resource Consent to replace the current 45m turbine with a new turbine up to 77m in height. Resource consent was granted in June 2014.

The new turbine is an Enercon E44, manufactured by Enercon (a German-based wind turbine manufacturer). It will be 67m high, from ground to tip (the height of the Beehive building), with 20.8m blades (slightly smaller than the length of a tennis court).