This week marks 10 years since Meridian’s West Wind farm was switched on.
The 62-turbine farm sets some impressive numbers. As the biggest single wind farm in New Zealand, it has produced approximately 5,200,000,000 kWh to date. Due to its windswept location, the farm produces more electricity than most international sites. In an average year the Wellington farm is running 90% of the time, generating enough power for about 70,000 households.
It’s this high performance that has led the farm to lead the world in turbine development. Data gathered on site has enabled manufacturers to innovate the design and construction of turbines, reducing the cost of renewable energy developments around the world.
The funneling effect of Cook Strait means the site has strong and consistent wind speeds, making it an ideal place for a wind farm however right from the early stages of planning, it was clear that getting the turbine components to the site would require innovative solutions.
To avoid transporting 40-meter-long blades through Wellington’s busy and often windy streets, Meridian needed to think outside the box. At nearby Oteranga Bay, a temporary purpose-built wharf was constructed, allowing turbine components to arrive in on barges. 293 voyages were made across the notoriously rough Cook Strait and care had to be taken to avoid the HVDC Inter-Island cable. To make the construction even more complex, this critical North Island/South Island cable link also comes ashore in Oteranga bay.
Since being switched on in 2009 by former Prime Minister John Key, the farm has been essential to meet New Zealand and particularly our capital city’s energy needs. In 2011 when snow caused power to be lost to thousands of Wellington homes, the West Wind farm was able to fill the gap and keep the lights on as temperatures dropped below 0 degrees
Nestled in Wellington’s western coastline and visible from both the ferry and the airport flight path, West Wind farm’s location makes it one of the most visited and photographed places in the country.
West Wind farm, along with Meridian’s other generation sites, plays an essential part in New Zealand’s renewable energy grid – providing New Zealand with renewable energy today and for future generations.
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Meridian External Communications
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