Controversial wind farm Wins Prestigious Engineering Award
3 December 2012
The Meridian West Wind whole-of-business engineering project is the winner of the Energy and Resources category of the 2012 New Zealand Engineering Excellence Awards. The award is sponsored by the Electricity Engineers' Association.
The awards were established in 2005, and are the most prestigious event in the New Zealand engineering calendar. The Energy and Resources Award has been introduced for the first time this year. It recognises recent activities or projects associated with developing or implementing improved or new products or services for energy generation, transmission, reticulation, or use.
“We are thrilled with the number and calibre of entries for this new category’ says Awards Coordinator Dionne Needham, “It reflects the vital importance the industry places on energy and resources in contemporary New Zealand”.
Despite a controversial start, Makara’s West Wind wind farm is being touted as a major engineering success.The awards judges recognised the difficulties inherent in the Makara project. The high winds and difficult terrain of the coastal site made for a challenging project location, and the significant community concern meant conditions around noise emission and measurement were exacting. Detailed computational fluid dynamics analysis was undertaken to ensure the turbine was positioned for maximum efficiency.
“This project has further enhanced New Zealand’s reputation as a leader in wind technology engineering.” Says judge Andrew Read of Pedersen Read Consulting.
According to the awards panel, Meridian have visibly built on the experience gained at Te Apiti Wind Far, near Palmerston North, and dealt with issues such as narrow roads and generally difficult access with innovative solutions, such as the temporary wharf. They also noted the significant scrutiny of the local residents and praised the West Wind project team’s commitment to overcoming negative sentiment. The project site is open to the public and facilities include a viewing platform, several walking and mountain biking tracks.
Alongside the wind farm, the inaugural finalists included a canal inlet structure, an indoor switchyard, and an upgrade of a hydroelectric generation plant in the Philippines. The Engineering Excellence Awards differ from similar accolades requiring entries to have proved their success over a significant time period.
The winners of the New Zealand Engineering Excellence Awards were announced at a black tie function at the Langham Hotel Symonds St on Friday November 30th.
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