The Ross Island Wind Farm--Completion

The wind turbines on 13 December 2009
Above, a view of the 3 new wind turbines on 13 December 2009.
(Mike Casey) from the USAP Photo Library (link to original)

The official opening ceremony for the Ross Island wind farm project was held via video link from Auckland on 16 January 2010. Participants included the U. S. Ambassador David Huebner and New Zealand Foreign Minister Murray McCully. U. S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had been scheduled to attend the Auckland ceremony, but her trip was cancelled due to the Haiti earthquake.

A second on-site dedication ceremony was held on site on 21 January:

the wind farm dedication ceremony
The assemblage at the dedication ceremony near one of the wind turbines. (Photo by George Blaisdell, ©Antarctica New Zealand Pictorial Collection, Image no. 29362, January 2010) (link to original with copyright/usage information).
unveiling the dedication plaque
Unveiling the dedication plaque: Karl Erb (NSF (OPP director) (left), and Rob Fenwick (ANZ board chairman). (Photo by George Blaisdell, ©Antarctica New Zealand Pictorial Collection, Image no. 29363, January 2010) (link to original with copyright/usage information).
The dedication plaque
A view of the plaque. (Photograph by Matt Vance, ©Antarctica New Zealand Pictorial Collection, Image no. 29222, January 2010) (link to original with copyright/ usage information).
Erik Barnes (ANZ program manager) and Brian Stone at the dedication
Erik Barnes (ANZ program manager) (left), and Brian Stone of the National Science Foundation, are seen here participating in the dedication. (Chris Demarest) from the USAP Photo Library (link to original).
The wind turbines as seen from McMurdo
A view of the wind turbines as seen from Hut Point looking across McMurdo Station, in December 2010.
(Peter Rejcek) from the USAP Photo Library (link to original).


The two-year project was developed by the the New Zealand program. It consists of 3 330KW turbines located on a ridgeline of Crater Hill midway between Scott Base and McMurdo Station. The turbines are 110 feet in diameter, with the hubs mounted on 121-foot towers (more technical details, and photos from the 2008-09 construction season). Below, photos from the 2009-10 season.

Moving one of the turbine blades
Hauling some of the blades to the erection site (SB).
Hoisting the turbine hub and blades
Hoisting the turbine hub and blades (SB).
Another view of the turbine hub lift
Another view of the lift (SB).
Looking down from the top of the tower
Looking down from the top of the tower (SB).

The erection of the turbine #1 (seen above) was completed on 25 November...meanwhile the commissioning of the power controller, frequency converter, and Powerstore flywheel regulator system was also being completed. At 2000 on Wednesday 2 December 2009, the first renewable power from turbine #1 was generated and supplied to the grid...meanwhile, the erection of turbines #2 and #3 was being completed.

one of the wind turbine erection sites
One of the turbine erection sites on 7 December 2009. (Chris Wilson) from the USAP Photo Library (link to original).
the wind turbines in mid-December


Another look at all 3 turbines in mid-December. (Mike Casey) from the USAP Photo Library (link to original).
where are all of the radio antennas?
A February 2010 aerial view of the wind farm on the Crater Hill ridgeline. This view is looking roughly
northwest...the McM-Scott Base road cuts across the very bottom right corner of this photo. The winding
road up to the turbines leads up to the former Navy transmitter site; the red-and-white striped radome
is still present. (Joe Harrigan) from the USAP Photo Library (link to original).

One more photo--the latest view...a webcam operated by Antarctica New Zealand which offers near-real-time views of the wind farm (at least when it is light enough to see something).

Sources for this page include this 19 January 2010 Antarctic Sun article by Peter Rejcek; this blog by Meridian project manager Scott Bennett which describes some of the construction details; and the other information sources referenced on my 2008-09 construction coverage. Also of interest is this 2005 National Renewable Energy Lab (NREL) study analyzing the potential use of wind energy at McMurdo and Pole.

Photo credits...those from Mike Casey (MC), Peter Rejcek (PR), Chris Wilson (CW), Chris Demarest (CD), and Joe Harrigan (JH) are from the Antarctic Photo Library The photos from Scott Bennett (SB) are from his blog mentioned above.