“Largest ever” turbine blades en route to Australia’s largest wind farm

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Construction is underway at AGL’s Coopers Gap wind farm in south-east Queensland, and that means delivery of “the largest wind turbine blades ever transported in Australia.”

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Construction is underway on what will be – at least for a time – Australia’s largest wind farm.

Project developer AGL Energy said on Friday that the foundations had been laid at the site of the 453MW Coopers Gap Wind Farm in Queensland, and parts of the massive turbines were making their journey from port to site, around 180km north of Brisbane.

And when we say massive, we mean massive – as in, the largest wind turbine blades ever transported in Australia.

That’s according to AGL, who said a trial delivery of the blades and other components had been successfully completed on Tuesday, in preparation for “sustained overnight deliveries” for the rest of the year.

AGL Project Manager, Tim Knill, says the largest turbine blades measure 67.2 metres long and weigh in at a hefty 22 tonnes.

“Several shipments of wind farm components, including the blades, have arrived at the Port of Brisbane and are in storage awaiting transportation,”  Knill said.

“The movement of such large pieces of equipment requires detailed planning and we are predicting approximately 1,200 oversize movements, involving blades, hubs, tower sections and nacelles,” he said.

“We aim to minimise the impacts on commuters so many of the movements are done at night time.”

Knill says the increased level of complexity of transporting the extra long blades is compensated for by the fact that, once installed, they allow more energy to be captured by every turbine, thus bringing down the cost of generation.

On that matter, Coopers Gap has already impressed, having secured – in August last year – an off-take price of below $60/MWh for energy generated by the south-east Queensland wind farm.

The deal included AGL writing a PPA for electricity and associated renewable energy certificates of less than $60/MWh for an initial five years, with an option to extend the agreement for another five years at the same – or even lower – price.

Once completed – it’s expected to be operational by mid-2019 — the project will comprise a total of 123 wind turbines, with 91 x 3.63MW turbines (137m rotor diameter) and 32 x 3.83MW (130m rotor diameter) turbines.

“The wind turbines will have a tip height of 180 metres. The hub height (axis or rotation) will be 110 metres (3.6MW – 137) or 115 metres (3.8MW – 130),” said Knill.

“The total capacity of the wind farm will be 453MW making it the largest wind farm by MW capacity in Australia.

“It’s estimated around $56 million will be spent by the project on services provided by local businesses during the construction phase… with 20 ongoing jobs created on site to maintain and operate the turbines.”

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