Antarctica is set to receive three new state-of-the-art wind turbines

The first turbine will be installed in the summer of 2024/25, the other two the following year.
Loukia Papadopoulos
An illustration of Scott Base.jpg
An illustration of Scott Base.

Scott Base 

Ross Island, Antarctica, will soon receive three new and improved wind turbines. These novel systems will power the future Scott Base with more than 90 percent renewable energy.

“Three EWT turbines (type DW54X-1MW) have been selected to replace the three existing turbines that supply renewable energy to Scott Base and the neighboring American base, McMurdo Station,” said a press release by Antarctica New Zealand.

Wind turbine maker EWT added that upgrading Ross Island’s energy system will “significantly increase the percentage of renewable energy in [Scott Base’s] total (and growing) energy demand.”

The new turbines will head to Antarctica in the summer of 2023/24. The first turbine will be installed in the summer of 2024/25, and the other two the following year.

Chief Executive of Antarctica New Zealand Sarah Williamson said in the statement that the new wind turbines are part of an extensive upgrade program for the Ross Island Wind Energy system that demonstrates New Zealand’s commitment to sustainability.

“The Ross Island Wind Energy system reduces the carbon footprint of New Zealand’s Antarctic operations, as well as the environmental risks associated with transporting diesel fuel to Antarctica”, she said.

“One of the new turbines will generate almost as much power as the three current ones combined and, together with a battery storage system, will provide more than 90% of the electrical demand of the new Scott Base per year.”

Meeting higher energy demands

The new base, that is due to be up and running in 2028, will have higher energy demands so  a large battery energy storage system will also be installed and the high voltage network and diesel generators at Scott Base will be upgraded as part of the project.

The upgrades will allow New Zealand to benefit from the extreme wind conditions in Antarctica. Crater Hill is classified as a wind class 1A site, the windiest class.

The new turbines will be placed in the same location as the existing ones at Crater Hill and will stand at 40 meters tall, an increase in size from the existing hub height of 37m.

Funding for these ambitious projects comes from the Budget 2021 where Antarctica New Zealand was awarded significant funds to redevelop Scott Base and upgrade the Ross Island Wind Energy system, according to the press statement.

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