The milestone follows the raising of the project’s first towers last week. Each tower is made up of four separate sections and is anchored to an 800-tonne concrete and steel foundation using 168, 36mm bolts. The turbine’s 120-tonne nacelle, the box that houses all of the generating components in a wind turbine, and is as big as a shipping container was also craned into place.
Ratch Construction Director, Mr Rene Kuypers, said the significant milestone capped a huge team effort.
“Reaching this construction point has involved careful planning over many months and a lot of work from a lot of people and I’d like to thank them all,” Mr Kuypers said.
“From unloading the cargo at Cairns Port to carefully trucking the components up to Walkamin and now the crane crews erecting the components, it’s teamwork at its best,” he said.
Mr Kuypers said more than 400 construction crew had been inducted to work on the project to date, including 130 locals while more than 20 suppliers had been contracted from the wider Cairns region.
Over the project’s construction phase, more than 450 components will be delivered to site. There will be 53 wind turbines erected in all, each with a capacity exceeding 3 megawatts (MW) for a total capacity of around 180MW. Once fully operational in September 2018, Mount Emerald will be the biggest wind farm in Queensland.
The wind farm will deliver in the order of 540,000 megawatt hours of renewable energy, which is predicted to meet the annual needs of approximately 75,000 north Queensland homes over a 20-year period.