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Antarctic conservation

3 Posts tagged with the wind_turbine tag
1

The winds of change

Posted by Conservators May 6, 2013

Author: Jaime Ward

Date: 24/04/2013

Temperature: -32 degrees

Wind Speed: 10 knots

Temperature with wind chill: -47 degrees

Sunrise: The sun no longer rises

Sunset:  And therefore never sets

 

With rapidly dwindling hours of daylight and the prospect of gradually worsening weather, it's best to make the most of any opportunities we get to be outside and to explore some of the less frequented sites around the bases.

 

Last week, we were able to join a routine maintenance visit to the three wind turbines erected in 2010 and situated on the upper slopes of Crater Hill between Scott Base and McMurdo. Access to the wind farm site is usually restricted, but accompanied by the base electrician we were able to get a close up look at the towers and feel the hum of the huge blades sweeping overhead.

 

Wind turbine in action.jpg

Wind turbine in action - JW.

 

Until recently, power for both bases had been provided by diesel generators, but New Zealand's wind turbines now provide up to a third of the electricity here, and are reducing greatly both the cost and the risk of transporting a tanker load of fuel each summer.

 

And as an unexpected bonus of the elevated site, we were treated to one of the final stunning sunsets over the Trans Antarctic mountains.

 

Sunset over the Trans Antarctic mountains.jpg

Sunset over the Trans Antarctic mountains - JW.

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Winter Routines

Posted by Conservators Apr 23, 2013

Author: Sue

Date: 17 April 2013

Temperature: -32 degrees

Wind Speed: 20 knots

Temperature with wind chill: -50 degrees

Sunrise: 10.19am

Sunset: 3.34pm

 

When the AHT winter team arrived on the ice ten weeks ago we arrived to 24-hr daylight... and next week, already, we move into 24-hr darkness. It seems to have come around quickly, giving our internal body clocks little consistency upon which to establish reliable routines. Consequently, we are reliant on the clock, especially as we now rise and begin work in the dark. Many lights around Scott Base are now on 24/7, with power being generated largely by three wind turbines on a hill behind the base.

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An April day at Scott Base, from the wind farm

 

Not unexpectedly, our winter routine of rising, working, eating and enjoying some recreational activities in the evenings is not unlike that of the early explorers. But of course we live in a modern facility so many aspects are very different. Of days' end during the 1911 winter at Terra Nova hut Captain Scott recorded: "At 11pm the acetylene lights are put out, and those who wish to remain up or to read in bed must depend on candle-light. The majority of candles are extinguished by midnight, and the night watchman alone remains awake to keep his vigil by the light of an oil lamp."

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Historic candles from the "heroic era", Cape Royds

 

For us, each in a room of our own, "lights out" in the evenings is, of course, whenever we choose to flick the switch. And, with the ever present risk of fire, never do we light a candle... and we have 200+ smoke detectors, 200 fire extinguishers, 8 hydrants and an extensive water sprinkler system to protect the base. Further, thanks to sophisticated alarm and communication systems, there is never a need for someone to keep watch at night... unless perhaps it's in the hope of observing an aurora, and that's purely for reasons of fascination and awe!

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Posted by Diana

 

Date: September 15, 2010
Temperature: -41.7 degrees C
Wind Speed: 5 knots
Temp with wind chill: -46 degrees C
Sunrise: 07:33
Sunset 18:08

 

Just over a year ago Antarctica New Zealand completed the installation of three wind turbines. These generate enough electricity for New Zealand’s Scott Base and some extra which is fed back over to McMurdo, the United States Base. They are beautiful and amazing pieces of technology, 39 meters tall with blades that span 33 meters.

 

wind turbine.jpg
Looking up from outside the tower © Antarctica New Zealand/Hayden

 

Spring can bring some of the coldest weather in Antarctica and it seems the oil used to lubricate the moving parts in the turbines is becoming too viscous (thickening up).  Hayden, one of our engineers, and Steve, our electrician, went over to the wind-farm to change the oil to something which would not be as effected by the cold. This job required climbing the ladder inside the wind turbine and working in the cramped space in the top of the turbine.

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Looking down the tower © Antarctica New Zealand/Hayden

 

There was six litres of oil used – it took 7 hours for the oil to drain! The controls for the turbines (and all the systems used to keep Scott Base) are managed by Hayden’s computer at base. While Hayden was up the tower he was in constant communication by radio with base so he could issue instructions.

 

 

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Hayden in the tower © Antarctica New Zealand/Hayden

 

Cricket was “mouse” (rostered duty of answering phones and radio, etc) that day so we listened to it all as we worked in our toasty little lab back at base.