Meridian Energy's Te Apiti wind farm just north of the Manawatu Gorge is currently the largest in the southern hemisphere. Its 55 wind turbines deliver up to 90 megawatts to the National Grid, enough to power 46,000 households.
Beca provided the design services for the 22kV cable reticulation scheme, the 22/110kV centrally located substation, a 4.5km 110kV transmission line to the Woodville substation, the access track design to enable the 400 tonne crawler crane to install the 70m high turbines and also the crane pad lay-down areas. Beca also managed the procurement, and preparation of technical specifications and tender documents.
The groundbreaking project was completed within one year from the sod-turning on 7 November 2003, despite challenges resulting from major floods hitting the area. The 110kV line also had to negotiate several steep gullies, streams and drop offs, covered in dense native bush, utilising Petitjean steel monopoles and specific line design.
The development of Te Apiti contributes to the diversity in electricity generation in New Zealand. It allows the country to be less vulnerable to power shortages resulting from low hydro-lake levels and gas supply uncertainties, and supports the Kyoto Protocol by reducing emissions from generation using gas and coal.