An 80m-plus tower supporting 57m turbine blades requires a solid footing.
At the $360 million Mount Emerald Wind Farm near Mareeba the first 800-tonne foundation has been completed for the site’s 53 turbines.
Buried to ground level, the foundation consists of a 50-tonne reinforced steel cage filled with 350 cubic metres (about 750 tonnes) of concrete.
Ratch Australia Corporation executive general manager business development Anthony Yeates said the first foundation was always a special milestone in wind farm construction.
“Up until this point, the focal point for construction has been civil works, establishing the site office and constructing access roads following meticulous flora, fauna and unexploded ordinance surveys,” Mr Yeates said.
“Getting the first foundation poured is the first big ticket item on our scope of works that has to do directly with the wind turbines so for us it’s a special moment that salutes years of hard work by many people in our team.”
Mr Yeates said the concrete used for each foundation would be manufactured on site to reduce truck movements on public roads.
Up to four weeks is allowed for the concrete to cure to maximum strength before the foundation is backfilled with rock and soil to match the natural surface level. At this point, the foundation is ready for the bottom section of the tower to be bolted to it.
Wind turbine components will be delivered over an eight-month period starting in October.
“It’s exciting to see the project really begin to take shape. Now that we have the foundations underway, we hope to have the first tower sections going up within the next two months, followed eventually by the installation of the nacelles and then the turbine blades,” Mr Yeates said.
Once fully operational in September 2018, the 180MW Mount Emerald complex will be the biggest wind farm in Queensland.
The construction work is being led by Vestas and Downer Group.