Kaiwera Downs I blades and components arrive in Bluff
A major milestone in the construction of the Kaiwera Downs I wind farm was reached when 67-metre turbine blades and other turbine components arrived in South Port in Bluff. The project developer, New Zealand’s power producer, Mercury, noted that foundations for each turbine are well underway, ready for the blades, towers and nacelles to be delivered, with main components set to start arriving to the project site mid May.
“Kaiwera Downs I is on track to be generating renewable electricity within six months’ time,” said Mercury’s GM Portfolio, Phil Gibson. “All on-site roads, crane pads, and turbine foundations have been completed ready for the turbines to go up from the end of this month – that’s when you can really see the progress.”
Trucking to wind farm site
The main components will be delivered to the site by truck, and it’s a big job. “The longest load is the blades at around 67-metres and the heaviest load will be the base towers that weigh in it around 75 tonnes, so shout out to the team at McNulty’s who are going to be driving this precious cargo from Bluff to the Kaiwera Downs Wind Farm,” Gibson said.
“The size of the components means they’ll travel different routes: all will go through Invercargill, but the blades will travel through Edendale while the towers and nacelles will travel through Gore due to the weight of the loads,” he added.
Gibson stressed that safety is at the core of the operation with truck movements, which will commence mid May and continue through until the middle of June, usually taking place during the early hours to minimise traffic disruption.
“Construction commenced in October 2022 and the smooth delivery to date is a tribute to our delivery partners Vestas, Higgins, Electronet and Powernet, along with the Gore District Council, local businesses who have supported our teams, community members and landowners,” Gibson said.
Infrastructure in place
Infrastructure to send the electricity out to the grid is already in place, with the underground electrical wiring installed and the switchroom connecting the wind farm to the grid ready for action.
Mercury is initially committing $115 million to the 43 MW Stage I phase of the project. This lifts Mercury’s total commitment to new renewable wind generation to almost $600 million since 2019, including Turitea in Manawatu that will be New Zealand’s biggest wind farm.
These wind farms are part of a significant renewable growth pipeline for Mercury, with several other renewable projects under investigation as the transition to a lower carbon economy progresses. This includes Kaiwera Downs Wind Farm II, the second part of this wind farm that will complete the 240MW that was been consented on he site.