Two turbines up on Kaiwera Downs wind farm

Blowing in the wind. . . Mercury turbines can be seen on the Kaiwera foothills from State Highway 94. PHOTO: SANDY EGGLESTON

New landmarks are appearing on the Eastern Southland landscape.
Two of the 10 turbines of Mercury’s $115 million stage one Kaiwera Downs wind farm project are up.
The 145m-tall turbines with the longest blades in New Zealand can be seen from Gore.
Project manager Stew Reid said the project, which started last October, was well under way.
It was expected that one turbine a week will be erected for the next eight weeks.
‘‘The erection of the blades and the components occurs as the wind and the weather windows allow . . .and can occur during the dawn hours.’’
The project is on schedule to be operational by October this year.
The turbines have been manufactured by Vestas and are rated at 4.3MW each.
The towers are 77m high and the blades are 67m long, giving a total tip height of 145m.
Already, 18km of overhead transmission lines to the Gore substation have been constructed.
‘‘The collector system is connected to a switch room which delivers the electricity to the Gore substation at 33kva with enough capacity to power 22,000 homes.’’