Albany Wind Farm

Albany Wind FarmNeil McKnight
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Albany Wind Farm

The Albany Wind Farm prod­uces 80 per­c­ent of Albany's electric­ity needs. It was the larg­est wind farm in the South­ern Hemi­sphere when open­ed in 2001.

Initi­ally, the Wind Farm was creat­ed using twelve 1.8-megawatt E66 Enercon turbines im­port­ed from Germany. These were plac­ed on the 80-metre cliff at Sand patch, about 12 km from the Albany City centre, facing the South­ern Ocean.

Each 65-metre tall tower is topp­ed with huge nose cone and three fibreglass and kevlar blades, weigh­ing some 14 tonnes. Each blade is 35 metres long. The speed at the blade tips can reach 270 kph.

The towers auto­mat­ic­ally track the wind and adjust the blade pitch to maxi­m­ise the power harv­est­ed, generat­ing useful power from a slight breeze of just 7 kph. Design­ed to withstand lightn­ing strikes, the towers will shut down auto­mat­ic­ally at high winds over 120 kph.

In 2011, a further six 2.3-megawatt E70 Enercon turbines were added to form the adjac­ent Grassmere Wind Farm, bring­ing the total capac­ity to 35.4 mega­watts. This gener­ates about 80% of Albany's electric­ity needs, saving about 109,000 tonnes of CO<sub>2</sub> em­iss­ions annu­ally. Because of the clifftop loca­tion, adequ­ate wind is nearly always avail­able.

<q>was the larg­est wind farm in the South­ern Hemi­sphere when open­ed in 2001</q>

The Albany Wind Farm is owned by Verve Energy, also respons­ible for wind farms at Esper­ance and Kalbarri. During con­struc­tion, great care was taken to pre­serve the natur­al bush sett­ing and native flora.

Facili­ties include con­veni­ent park­ing, assess­ible toi­lets, info­rm­ative sign­age and a series of scenic lookouts network­ed by mean­der­ing pathways and boardwalks and a con­nec­tion to the Bibbulmun Track. Sand Patch look­out with its spect­acular views of the South­ern Ocean is just a short walk from the car park.

The Wind Farm is open to the public every day, free of charge.

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Article updated 19/04/2020.