In celebration of Global Wind Day - we caught up with Principal Mechanical Engineer, Nigel Matuschka.
Nigel leads the New Zealand Power team in our Auckland office, working closely with our regional bases and Wind Generation Centre of Excellence in Melbourne. After a five-year dry-spell, New Zealand's wind industry is starting to pick-up. At least two new wind farm projects are expected to break-ground this year. Nigel fills us in on the trends, innovation and expectations that we can expect moving forward.
After a five-year hiatus, things are starting to perk up again for New Zealand. Mercury kicked-off stage one of its $256m Turitea Wind Farm; set to host 33 wind turbines with a combined capacity of 119MW. This alone is enough to power 210,000 electric cars; one of the many trends ultimately shaping our recent shift in demand for more power.
Another wind farm that may continue to progress in the development phase is the Waverly Wind Farm with up to 48 turbines in South Taranaki. Tilt Renewables and Genesis Energy have teamed-up for this development (10 years after the farm was initially proposed). The Waverley Wind Farm would produce enough clean energy each year to power about 70,000 homes and save the emission of roughly 350,000 tonnes of carbon, equivalent to removing about 70,000 cars from our roads. (Tilt Renewables)
The observed global trends for larger rotor diameters and uprated generators will shape our industry – this will play particularly true for the offshore sector, but we will also see demand in our onshore turbines too. In the past, many Wind Turbine Generators (WTGs) had rotor diameters (in the region) of 90m – dominating the global market for a number of years. Almost a decade ago, manufacturers started to introduce larger rotor diameters.
All of this has been possible due to the ongoing improvements in materials, technology, blade-testing and transportation. The new, larger machines offer a better yield and lower energy cost for a given installed capacity. So, major suppliers are now expected to offer few smaller turbine models. We may see a trend where many smaller turbines at the lower capacity of their product range will be discontinued. In a typical supply and demand scenario.
Our mates over in Australia have had a pretty hectic year, with over 5,679 megawatts (MW) of installed capacity and a further 19,602 MW of proposed capacity. This took the shape of 94 wind farms in total and a further 24 projects proposed or confirmed for 2019. Luckily, we can get support from our ANZ Centre of Excellence in Melbourne for insights, innovations and learnings from the number of projects they’ve been involved with.