The remote Te Uku wind farm – commissioned in March 2011 – situated on 56 km2 at Waikato, just north of Raglan on New Zealand’s North Island, has a 64 megawatt (MW) capacity. Te Uku is an embedded generation solution linking into the WEL Networks 33 kilovolt network. The Siemens SWT-2.3-101 turbines erected at the site are made using Siemens IntegralBlade® technology, which casts turbine blades in one piece. This casting technique improves the strength of the blades as it does not rely on glue joints to remain intact – as is the case for turbines that are made from two or more pieces. As well, Siemens’ rugged blade technology has been used in the design of the SWT-2.3-101 wind turbines used at the Te Uku wind farm, which optimises their energy output in areas with moderate wind conditions. The SWT-2.3-101 turbines can generate electricity in wind speeds of between 14 km and 90 km per hour.
Turbine dimensions The SWT-2.3-101 turbines stand 80 m tall and weigh 311 tonnes. Each blade is 49 m long and weighs 10.5 tonnes. Each turbine rotor has a diameter of 101 m – the largest in use in New Zealand.
Individually, each of the 28 wind turbines has a maximum generation capacity of 2.3 MW, and combined is currently generating enough energy to power 30,000 average-size homes.
Large-scale installation Very long low-loaders were used to transport pieces of the turbines and the blades separately.Article continues below…
A 600-tonne capacity, narrow-wheeled crane – the largest wheeled crane in New Zealand – was used to erect the turbines, rather than a tracked crane. This allowed the construction team to reduce the width of ancillary and on-site roads by nearly half. Not only did this reduce construction costs, but also minimised the impact on the environment.