EWT to install three wind turbines at Ross Island in Antarctica

Dutch EWT and Antarctica New Zealand have agreed to the supply and installation of three DW54X-1MW turbines with a 40-meter hub height on Ross Island in the Antarctic.

Two Antarctic research stations, Scott Base of New Zealand and McMurdo Station of the United States, are located on Ross Island and are only a few miles away from one another. The microgrid that powers both stations will be connected to the wind turbines, which will be situated at Crater Hill, about midway between them. The wind turbines are a part of a comprehensive improvement scheme that also includes the replacement of three existing 300 kW turbines, a huge Battery Energy Storage System (BESS), an upgrade to the high voltage network, and the replacement of Scott Base’s current diesel generators.

Severe conditions

The weather on Ross Island is really difficult. The site’s yearly average temperature is -19.5°C, with the lowest temperature ever recorded being -58.8°C and the warmest being +4.5°C, making Antarctica colder than Alaska. EWT‘s turbines won’t experience any interruptions in operation till temperatures below -40°C.

The site is designated as a wind class IA site with a high air density due to the extremely severe wind conditions at Crater Hill. Antarctica New Zealand will be better equipped to take advantage of these wind conditions and dramatically raise the share of renewable energy in their total (and rising) energy consumption by modernising the island’s energy system.

Spring and summer

Ross Island is only accessible in the spring and summer, from November to March. For those that need to move people and commodities to and from the Island, this poses significant logistical difficulties. The wind turbines will be delivered to Ross Island by a rented vessel in February or March 2024, when they will be stored in a lay-down facility close to the project site. November/December 2024 will see the installation of the first wind turbine, with January/February 2026 seeing the installation of the other two. To ensure that the wind turbines are securely kept in the inclement weather, extra care will be required.

Scott Base’s renovation

The EWT wind turbines will form a component of Scott Base’s extensive renovation plan. New facilities that have been pre-built in New Zealand will be transferred to Ross Island and installed in place of all the current amenities. The foundations for the wind turbines will be pre-built as so-called spider frame foundations, a mix of a sizable steel structure and pre-casted concrete blocks, as it won’t be possible to pour concrete for the foundations on the site. The island will receive the foundations, which will thereafter be put together there.

Image source: EWT

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