Tuesday, November 28, 2023

Antarctica is set to receive new state-of-the-art wind turbines

Ross Island, Antarctica, will soon receive three new state-of-the-art wind turbines that will power the future Scott Base with more than 90% renewable energy.

Wind turbine maker EWT has signed a contract with New Zealand’s Antarctic to supply and install three EWT turbines (type DW54X-1MW). The turbines will replace the three existing ones that supply renewable energy to Scott Base and the neighboring American base, McMurdo Station.

The new wind turbines are part of an extensive upgrade program for the Ross Island Wind Energy system that demonstrates New Zealand’s commitment to sustainability. Each EWT turbine will have a rotor diameter of 54 meters (177 feet) and will stand at 40 meters tall (hub height) in the same location as the existing ones at Crater Hill – a small increase in size from the existing hub height of 37 meters. These turbines are scheduled to sail south to Antarctica in the summer of 2023/24.

“The Ross Island, Wind Energy system, reduces the carbon footprint of New Zealand’s Antarctic operations, as well as the environmental risks associated with transporting diesel fuel to Antarctica,” Chief Executive Sarah Williamson says. “One of the new turbines will generate almost as much power as the three current ones combined and, together with a battery storage system, will provide more than 90% of the electrical demand of the new Scott Base per year.”

A large battery energy storage system will also be installed, and the high-voltage network and diesel generators at Scott Base will be upgraded as part of the project. The upgrades will allow New Zealand to benefit from the extreme wind conditions in Antarctica while meeting the higher energy requirements of the new base that is due to be up and running in 2028.

The first turbine will be installed in the summer of 2024/25, and the other two the following year. In Budget 2021, Antarctica New Zealand was awarded funding to redevelop Scott Base and upgrade the Ross Island Wind Energy system.