Wind farm powers on

THIS week has been a big one even for a project the size of Tasmania's $400 million Musselroe wind farm under construction at Cape Portland in the state's far North-East.

Hydro Tasmania's Musselroe wind farm project director Andrew Hickman breathed a sigh of relief yesterday as the final load of wind turbine parts from Vestas's Italian assembly plant arrived by boat and were unloaded at Bell Bay for transport to Musselroe.

``It's nice to know that everything is here now,'' he said.

The Musselroe construction team also completed erection of the first wind turbine on site with the help of a 1200-tonne crane shipped in specially for the job.

It is expected that the first of the 56 turbines to be pulled into place will be feeding power into the Tasmanian grid by March.

Mr Hickman likens the wind farm project - one of the state's biggest infrastructure projects  - to  ducks floating on a pond.

``On the surface everything seems calm but the ducks are paddling furiously underneath the water,'' he said.

He said the project was slightly ahead of schedule.

Tasmanian construction  company Hazell Bros, which won the infrastructure construction contract, has nearly completed its work and will soon pull nearly 100 staff  off the site.

The Hobart-based company has built the roads needed on the former farm site as well as the concrete bases for the wind towers.

``Each of the 56 bases has required 500 cubic metres of concrete for the foundation alone - so that is nearly 30,000 cubic metres of concrete,'' Mr Hickman said.

The Hazell Bros workers will be replaced by Vestas personnel who will assemble and lift the other 55 turbine towers into place.

Mr Hickman said that the nacelles, which contained the generator, gear box and transformer for each turbine, were among the heaviest components to lift into place on top of the towers.

There will be a steady increase in the flow of wind power from Musselroe into the state grid from March until July when the last of the wind turbines is scheduled to be in operation.

Musselroe farm will give Tasmania the means to increase its power generation capacity easily in the current climate where wind was a favoured energy source, Mr Hickman said.

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