Turbine parts for the Waipipi Wind Farm in South Taranaki have arrived in New Zealand.

The first Chinese ship carrying towers and blades arrived in Port Taranaki on May 21, about 10 days ahead of schedule, project manager Jim Pearson said. They will now be trucked to the 980ha site, which is on the coast between Waverley and Patea.

Construction of the 31-turbine wind farm began in October last year. It's a $227 million project of renewable energy generator Tilt Renewables.

Work stopped completely and there was only security on site during the level 4 lockdown. It resumed under level 3, with contractors working in bubbles and vehicles digitally tracked after entry.

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The dry summer has speeded progress, Pearson said. A compound has been set up as base for the 80 to 90 workers on site, and most of the 18km of internal roads have been made.

The wind farm has a central compound with offices and toilets. Photo / Paul Brooks
The wind farm has a central compound with offices and toilets. Photo / Paul Brooks

A concrete batching plant is pouring the 430 cubic metres of concrete needed for each turbine foundation. The 12th foundation was being poured yesterday .

Before they are poured, the sandy soil is "improved" to fortify it against liquefaction or sideways movement during earthquakes.

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The main contractor for construction is Higgins, and Electrotronet is handling the electrical side. It involves an underground electrical cable network, connecting the turbines, and 11km of overhead transmission lines taking electricity to the Waverley Substation.

Most of the poles for that line are already in, Pearson said, and are visible from Waverley's Fookes and Swinburne Streets. Some residents were so concerned about them that they were thinking of fighting the wind farm consent, but did not proceed.

There has been no public reaction to the poles and transmission line, Pearson said.

Work to erect the wind turbines will begin from the end of June, and numbers on site are expected to rise to 150 to 160.

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The wind farm may begin generating electricity in October. Its total output is projected to be 955GWh per year, enough to power 70,000 homes and save the emission of 350,000 tonnes of carbon.