In a positive sign for the region’s economic recovery from COVID-19, the first components for the $277m Waipipi Wind Farm in South Taranaki have arrived at Port Taranaki.
Tilt Renewables, a developer, owner and manager of renewable energy generation assets in both New Zealand and Australia, is building the 133 megawatt wind farm along 980 hectares of coastal land between Waverley and Patea.
Last evening, the Chipol Donghai, carrying six hubs, 11 towers and 30 blades, docked at Port Taranaki.
From today until Wednesday, the components will be moved by heavy lifting vehicles to the Eastern Reclamation and stored.
Another shipment, carrying wind turbine nacelle units from Denmark, and two further shipments of hubs, towers and blades from China will arrive at Port Taranaki in coming weeks.
All up, 31 hubs, 31 towers and ninety-three 64m blades will be shipped and stored at Port Taranaki before being moved to the Waipipi site.
“With Taranaki, like the rest of New Zealand, looking to shovel-ready projects to help the economy recover from the impact of COVID-19, the Waipipi Wind Farm is a great development for our region. We’re really pleased to be able to support this project by using our facilities and expertise,” Port Taranaki chief executive Guy Roper said.
“This work helps to get businesses operating and trading re-established, so the fact it’s in our area and utilising local businesses is a real boost to the region.”
Tilt Renewables’ project manager Jim Pearson agreed.
“This is huge for getting the economy moving post COVID-19,” he said.
“We’ve got about 80 guys on-site now and when the crew arrive to start erecting the turbines there will be another 80 on-site.
“Plus there’s all the spinoff work. We are focused on using local contractors as much as possible as Taranaki has a good skills base, and the technical support services and infrastructure to support the wind farm through the construction and the operating phase,” Mr Pearson said.
“With the changes that COVID-19 has brought to the workplace we have put in place comprehensive protocols and measures to ensure the site can continue to work safely and effectively”.
With a rotor diameter of 130m, the 31 Siemens Gamesa turbines will be the largest ever installed in New Zealand, and will generate an annual average of 455 gigawatt hours of electricity – enough to power about 65,000 homes. The project is scheduled to be fully operational next February.
The arrival of the Waipipi wind farm components to Port Taranaki comes on the heels of a shipment of wind blades for Mercury’s wind farm at Turitea, in Manawatū.
Ninety-nine blades came into Port Taranaki in February, were stored at the Eastern Reclamation, and have been systematically transported to the wind farm site. In November, another 84 blades will arrive at the port and be transported to Manawatū.
Port Taranaki head of commercial Ross Dingle said the wind farm projects were in line with the port’s aim to diversify the trade coming across the berths.
“Logistically, these projects are very exciting and challenging for us,” Mr Dingle said. “It’s great our assets, skills and expertise are being used for a new type of cargo.”
The components will be moved along Ocean View Parade, from Port Taranaki’s East Gate to the Eastern Reclamation, daily between 6am and 6pm.
Mr Dingle asked the public to please be aware of the truck movements along the road and to take care.