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New polar turbines for the windiest continent


Scott Base – Ross Island, Antarctica is set to receive three new state-of-the-art wind turbines that will power the future Scott Base with more than 90 percent renewable energy.

Three turbines have been selected to replace the existing turbines that supply renewable energy to Scott Base and the neighbouring American base, McMurdo Station.

The new turbines are scheduled to sail south to Antarctica in the summer of 2023-24. Antarctica NZ chief executive Sarah Williamson says the new wind turbines are part of an extensive upgrade programme for the Ross Island wind energy system which demonstrates New Zealand’s commitment to sustainability.

“The 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 says.

“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 percent of the electrical demand of the new Scott Base per year,” she says.

A large battery energy storage system will be installed and the high voltage network and diesel generators at Scott Base upgraded as part of the project.

The upgrade will allow New Zealand to benefit from the extreme wind conditions in Antarctica, while meeting the higher energy requirements of the new base that is due to be up and running in 2028.

The redevelopment of Scott Base will replace the existing base with three interconnected buildings and upgrade the Ross Island wind farm.

The redevelopment will provide a safe, fit-for-purpose, environmentally sustainable scientific research base that will support New Zealand’s presence in the Ross Sea region of Antarctica for the next 50 years.

The new facility will be fitted with laboratories, science workspaces, biosecurity facilities, event staging, and storage areas. There is also an external deck for testing equipment or preparing samples for shipments and a roof deck for science.

The new base can accommodate up to 100 people and will consist of an accommodation, dining and welfare building, a science and management building, and an engineering and storage building. More information about the project here.