The McMurdo Wind Farm--Completion

let's go for a spin
Above, a view of the 3 new wind turbines on 13 December 2009 (MC)

The official dedication ceremony for the Ross Island wind farm project was held via video link from Auckland on 16 January 2010. Participants included the U. S. Ambassador David Huebner and New Zealand Foreign Minister Murray McCully. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was scheduled to attend the Auckland ceremony, but her trip was cancelled due to the Haiti earthquake.

on site reps
Erik Barnes (left) from Scott Base, and Brian Stone of the National Science Foundation, are seen here participating in the opening ceremony from the wind turbine site (CD).
big props
A view of the wind turbines looking across McMurdo Station (PR).

The two-year project was developed by the the New Zealand program. It consists of 3 330KW turbines located on a ridgeline of Crater Hill midway between Scott Base and McMurdo Station. The turbines are 110 feet in diameter, with the hubs mounted on 121-foot towers (more technical details, and photos from the 2008-09 construction season). Below, some more photos from the 2009-10 season.

now we're truckin'
Hauling some of the blades to the erection site (SB).
give a lift
Hoisting the turbine hub and blades (SB).
not winded yet
Another view of the lift (SB).
don't look down
Looking down from the top of the tower (SB).

The erection of the turbine #1 (seen above) was completed on 25 November...meanwhile the commissioning of the power controller, frequency converter, and Powerstore flywheel regulator system was also being completed. At 2000 on Wednesday 2 December 2009, the first renewable power from turbine #1 was generated and supplied to the grid...meanwhile, the erection of turbines #2 and #3 was being completed.

danger, spinning electrons
One of the turbine erection sites on 7 December 2009 (CW).
windy city


Another look at all 3 turbines in mid-December (MC).
where are all of the radio antennas?
A February 2010 aerial view of the wind farm on the Crater Hill ridgeline. This view is looking roughly
northwest...the McM-Scott Base road cuts across the very bottom right corner of this photo. The winding
road up to the turbines leads up to the former Navy transmitter site; the red-and-white striped radome
is still present (JH).

One more photo--the latest view...a webcam operated by Antarctic New Zealand which offers near-real-time views of the wind farm (at least when it is light enough to see something).

Sources for this page include this 19 January 2010 Antarctic Sun article by Peter Rejcek; this information sheet on the project published by New Zealand electricity generator Meridian Energy, this blog by Meridian project manager Scott Bennett which describes some of the construction details, and the other information sources used for the 2008-09 construction coverage. Also of interest is this 2005 National Renewable Energy Lab (NREL) study analyzing the potential use of wind energy at McMurdo and Pole.

Photo credits...those from Mike Casey (MC), Peter Rejcek (PR), Chris Wilson (CW), Chris Demarest (CD), and Joe Harrigan (JH) are from the Antarctic Photo Library The photos from Scott Bennett (SB) are from his blog mentioned above.