The MacIntyre Wind Farm has received new trucks capable of transporting the project’s more than 29,000kg of wind turbines, eliminating the need for long trailers and the removal of large areas of vegetation. 

More than 20,000m² of farmland and vegetation will be left undisturbed at the construction site as part of an Australian first deployment of world leading transport technology.

The new trucks will now attach turbine blades to hydraulically operated adapters that can manipulate the blade around tight corners and over vegetation, eliminating the need for resting turbine blades flat on massive trailers and the need for large sweeping roads to accommodate them.

ACCIONA Energia Director of Engineering and Construction, Andrew Tshaikiwsky, said that due to the wind farm being built on rough country dominated by hills, ravines, vegetation and rock, it’s a lot of work to build internal access roads to transport turbine blades within the project.

“With this Australian first equipment we can now transport turbine blades around the project site and greatly reduce the amount of roadwork and clearing,” Mr Tshaikiwsky said. 

The two new ‘Blade Manipulators’ have been deployed to the MacIntyre Wind Farm during October and are currently in operation. ACCIONA Energia is also using similar technology in Peru, to navigate roads passing through towns and mountains.

Each of the new Blade Manipulators use a large hydraulically driven device mounted onto a ten axle trailer, manufactured in Australia, and capable of transporting a single 80m blade. The blade can be raised to a maximum of 40 degrees lifting the blade over vegetation and obstacles allowing it to easily move safely around tighter corners before being lowered back down.

It’s estimated the new blade transports will reduce the amount of earthworks and soil disturbance required on the project by 250,000m³ across the project’s 200km of internal roads.

“These new blade transport trucks are a marvel of engineering. We no longer require long rigid trailers that are difficult to move around site. With this new transport method we can use much shorter transport vehicles and greatly reduce the amount of cut and fill needed on internal access roads, reducing the footprint of the wind farm overall.” 

The new technology being deployed not only creates a reduced environmental footprint for the MacIntyre Wind Farm but also creates new skills within the booming renewables sector. Transport and logistics teams working on this project will have new experience and training for what will become an industry standard.

“Lots of projects around the country have rough terrain and we can see technology like this being deployed in the field all over Australia as the industry works to minimise the environmental footprints of projects.”

The skills learned from new technologies such as these will help ensure a better equipped, trained and prepared workforce as we transition to an energy grid primarily supplied by renewable energy.

“As part of building the biggest wind farm in the southern hemisphere and the first ‘gigawatt-scale’ project in Australia’s energy transition we’re focused on what skills the industry may need in the future and helping to identify and bring those capabilities forward.”

Queensland Minister for Energy and Public Works, Mick de Brenni, said that the innovation was pushing the industry forward.

“Queensland is not only leading the clean energy transition when it comes to reliability, but now is leading on efforts to lower the environmental footprint of projects too,” Mr de Brenni said. 

“Through the Queensland Energy and Jobs Plan we are committed to working with all stakeholders, and thanks to ACCIONA Energia, we are now combining climate action with conservation.”

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