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Albany Wind Farm
The Albany Wind Farm sits 80m above the Southern Ocean about 12km south-west of the city centre. The site elevation, proximity to the coastline and short distance to the main electricity transmission system make this an exceptional wind farm site. On average there are just seven days per year when the wind is not strong enough to turn the turbines.
The wind farm was built in two stages. The first stage consisted of twelve 1.8MW E66 Enercon turbines and opened in October 2001. Verve Energy added another six bigger turbines in the second stage, called Grasmere, at the end of 2011. These turbines are E70 Enercon 2.3MW turbines. The combined 18 turbines have the capacity to produce 35.4MW of electricity to meet 80% of Albany’s electricity needs.
To maximise the energy produced, the blades pivot and the turbines automatically turn to face into the wind.
The turbines were designed to withstand the strongest winds likely in Albany and have special lightning protection.
The wind turbines do not have gearboxes, which helps keep maintenance to a minimum. They operate at variable speed, which means that the blades speed up and slow down with the wind. Wind as low as 7kmh set the blades turning but when the wind speed reaches 120kmh, the turbines slow down to prevent damage.
At top speed the blades appear to move very slowly - one revolution every three seconds - however the end of the blades are travelling at 290kmh.
The wind farm lowers greenhouse gas emissions by about 109,000 tonnes per year, as less coal and gas are used at Verve Energy’s power stations.
The Albany Wind Farm is connected to the main electricity grid via an underground cable. When the wind isn't blowing the City of Albany is provided with power from Verve Energy's power stations.
The wind farm is open to the public. More information is available from the Albany Visitor Centre near the Albany train station at the bottom of York Street, Albany.
The Albany Wind Farm was officially opened in October 2001 and has become a popular tourist attraction. The Grasmere addition was completed in 2011.
|Wind turbine specifications|
E66 - 1.8MW
|Turbine make||ENERCON E66 and E70|
|Turbine type||Three bladed, upwind, horizontal axis, variable speed inverter coupled|
|Turbine tower height||65m|
|Turbine rotor diameter||E66 - 70m (blade length 35m)|
E70 - 71m (blade length 35.5m)
|Start-up wind speed
||2 m/s ( 7 km/hr or 4 knots)|
|Wind speed at which maximum output reached||15 m/s ( 54 km/hr or 29 knots)|
|Wind speed at which turbine stops due to high winds||28-34 m/s (122 km/hr or 66 knots)|
|Survivable wind speed
||Greater than 60 m/s (220 km/hr or 119 knots)|
|Blade rotational speed
||10 to 22 RPM|
|Turbine blade material
||Glass fibre reinforced epoxy|
||E66 - "Papyrus White" (RAL 9018)|
E70 - "Agate Grey" (RAL 7038)