First turbine blades arrive

There could be difficulty passing some trucks in and around Eastern Southland.

Some of the hefty equipment needed for the Kaiwera Downs wind farm is being transported to the site this month.

Last week the first of 30 blades to be installed at the wind farm, about 10km east of Mataura, was trucked to the site from South Port at Bluff.

Three blades go on each turbine, with 10 turbines under construction in the first stage of the wind farm.

Each blade is 67m long and weighs about 17 tonnes.

Following a trial run earlier this month where a beam of similar length was moved on the transporter to test the route from South Port to the site, the trip went smoothly despite the challenging weather conditions — thanks to a big team led by contractors Vestas and McNeilly Heavy Haulage driving the trucks.

Deliveries are scheduled daily except Sundays and are done in the early hours, leaving Bluff about 2am.

The truck goes through Wyndham to get to the site, turning off State Highway 1 at Edendale, as the blade is too long to cross the Mataura River bridge at Mataura.

Other parts of the wind farm, set to cost $115 million, are also being delivered.

They are not as long but are just as heavy.

A hub — where the blades connect to the nacelle at the top of the turbine tower — weighs inat 34 tonnes.

All 10 foundations are poured, set to receive the components.

Installation is expected to begin at the end of the month, with the first stage of the wind farm expected to be completed in September.

Mercury Energy principal project manager Stewart Reid thanked the community ‘‘for their patience while we get these pieces to site to enable us to build this wind farm’’.