September 11, 2018
The first wind turbine blade and the first nacelle for the Coopers Gap Wind Farm arrived at Cooranga North on Tuesday.
The two components were transported overnight from the Port Of Brisbane in a multi-truck convoy, accompanied by an escort of police and emergency workers.
The components for the wind farm’s 123 turbines first began arriving at the Port of Brisbane in February this year.
They have sat in storage at the port for the past seven months while AGL and the Department of Transport and Main Roads worked out the best route to move them safely to the site.
The sections that make up each wind turbine’s tower can fit on the rear of a large truck.
But wind turbine nacelles and blades pose special difficulties.
Nacelles – the boxes which sit behind the blades and house all the key components of a wind turbine including the generator, gearbox, drive train, and brake assembly – are oversize loads.
And the blades, which are almost 67.2 metres (about 220ft) long, require routes that can provide a wide sweep path and a relatively low gradient.
AGL Project Manager Tim Knill said the 22 tonne wind turbine blades are the largest ever transported in Australia.
“The long blades ensure more energy is captured by every wind turbine,” he said.
“This brings down the cost of generation, but creates a high level of complexity in managing the transportation.
“The movement of such large pieces of equipment requires detailed planning and we are predicting approximately 1200 oversize movements, involving blades, hubs and nacelles, by the end of this year.
“We aim to minimise the impacts on commuters so many of the movements are done at night time.
“However, at times we will need to have major sections of highways, including the Toowoomba Range, closed to align with our commitment to safety. Delays can be expected and we ask for patience at these times.”
Tuesday’s shipment has proven the turbine blades and nacelles can be safely transported to the southern side of the wind farm.
However, a route to the northern side of the wind farm has yet to be fully tested.
To do this, convoys will need to travel across Porters Gap and along Niagara Road at Boyneside.
In early August, two 200 tonne transformers were transported to the Powerlink electricity substation being built next to Niagara Road.
But these were narrow, short loads compared to the length and width needed to safely transport blades and nacelles.
The South Burnett Regional Council is currently preparing Niagara Road for these wind farm component shipments.
Their work will involve ripping up the current single-lane bitumen surface to convert Niagara Road to gravel, reducing the gradients on a few hills and widening some sections.
Once Council has completed the work, they will hand the road over the wind farm’s principal contractor GE Catcon.
This will be on the understanding that when the wind farm is complete, the company will return the road to the Council in the same condition it was received.
After this, the Council proposes to reseal Niagara Road with a 4-metre wide bitumen surface.
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