Renewable energy producer and retailer Mercury is developing the 222MW Turitea onshore wind farm near Palmerston North, New Zealand.

The Turitea wind facility will become New Zealand’s biggest wind farm. It is the first large-scale project initiated in New Zealand after 2014.

In 2005, the Palmerston North City Council selected Mercury for developing the Turitea wind farm. The project will be developed in two phases. Phase one will generate 119MW and phase two will produce 103MW of green energy.

The first phase of the project will supply power for more than 65,000 households or 210,000 electric cars and offset over 296,100t of CO₂ emissions from coal-based sources.

The groundbreaking for the project was held in October 2019, while completion is expected in the second quarter of 2021.

Turitea wind farm location

Turitea wind farm will be located in the Tararua Ranges, 10km away from Palmerston North, New Zealand. It will be situated in close proximity to the proposed Puketoi wind farm site in the Puketoi range.

The site lies in the Manawatu-Wanganui Region of the North Island. It offers high average wind speeds at elevated locations and more consistent wind resources when compared to an average location in continental Europe.

Turitea wind farm details

The 119MW segment of the wind farm will be located on the northern side and will include 33 turbines to generate an average of 470GW/h power a year.

"The Turitea wind facility will become New Zealand’s biggest wind farm."

The 103MW section of the wind farm will include 27 turbines installed on the southern side that will together generate an average of 370GW/h renewable energy a year. It will employ the Vestas V112-3.45MW turbines that have a rated capacity of 3.8MW in power optimised mode.

The northern section will employ the Vestas V112-3.35MW turbines that have a rated capacity of 3.6MW each.

The 119MW section of the project is expected to be commissioned by late 2020, while the 103MW section will begin operations in the second quarter of 2021.

Vestas V112-3.45MW turbine details

The Vestas V112-3.45MW turbine is a high-wind operation turbine with a rotor diameter of 112m and a swept area of 9,852m².

The turbine has a hub height of 69m (IEC IA) and 94m (IEC IA) and can be delivered with large diameter steel towers to increase production on low wind sites.

V112-3.45MW turbine is equipped with a condition monitoring system and Vestas ice detection, de-icing and Vestas InteliLight features. It can operate at temperatures ranging between -30°C and 45°C.

Turitea wind farm transmission details

A 12km-long 220kV transmission line will be constructed to connect the northern and southern turbine zones of Turitea wind farm to the Linton substation and the national grid.

The transmission infrastructure of the project will serve both sections of the Turitea wind farm and the Puketoi wind farm.

The transmission line will pass through the hilly Tararua ranges and will include support towers, which will act as strain structures for supporting multiple turn-off points along the route.

Turitea wind project financing

The cost for the 119MW section of the wind farm and transmission infrastructure is estimated to be NZ$256m ($162m). It will be funded from existing debt facilities. The 103MW section of the wind farm is estimated to cost NZ$208m ($132m).

Contractors involved

Vestas-New Zealand Wind Technology won engineering, procurement and construction (EPC), as well as operations and maintenance (O&M) contracts for the wind farm.

Based on a 25-year active output management 5000 (AOM 5000) service agreement, Vistas will provide long-term business case certainty to Mercury.

Electrix New Zealand was contracted for the design, procurement and construction of the transmission line for the wind farm.

4Sight Consulting provided environmental management consulting and planning advice, as well as ecological input for construction methodologies of the wind farm.

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