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Three new and enhanced wind turbines will be installed on Ross Island, Antarctica, soon. These innovative devices will provide more than 90 percent renewable energy to the future Scott Base.
“Three EWT turbines (type DW54X-1MW) have been selected to replace the three existing turbines that supply renewable energy to Scott Base and the neighbouring American base, McMurdo Station,” Antarctica New Zealand said in a a press release.
EWT, a manufacturer of wind turbines, has stated that modernising Ross Island’s energy infrastructure will “significantly increase the percentage of renewable energy in [Scott Base’s] total (and growing) energy demand.”
In the summer of 2023/24, the new turbines will be deployed to Antarctica. The first turbine will go up in the summer of 2024/25, followed by the other two the following year.
According to Sarah Williamson, Chief Executive of Antarctica New Zealand, the new wind turbines are part of an ambitious upgrading programme for the Ross Island Wind Energy system that highlights New Zealand’s commitment to sustainability.
“The Ross Island Wind Energy system reduces New Zealand’s Antarctic operations’ carbon footprint as well as the environmental risks associated with transporting diesel fuel to Antarctica,” she added.
“One of the new turbines will generate nearly as much power as the three current ones combined, and together with a battery storage system, will provide more than 90% of the new Scott Base’s annual electrical demand.”
Meeting higher energy demands
A large battery energy storage system will also be installed at Scott Base as part of the project. Additionally, the high voltage network and diesel generators at Scott Base will be upgraded. The new base, which is expected to be operational in 2028, will have higher energy demands.
New Zealand will be able to take advantage of Antarctica’s extreme winds thanks to the upgrades. Crater Hill is a wind class 1A site, which means it gets the most wind.
The new turbines, which will stand 40 metres taller than the current hub height of 37 metres, will be located at Crater Hill in the same spot as the existing turbines.
According to the press release, Antarctica New Zealand received significant funding in the Budget 2021 to redevelop Scott Base and upgrade the Ross Island Wind Energy system for these ambitious projects.