Raglan wind farm wins top award

Last updated 08:32 19/08/2011

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Te Uku wind farm near Raglan's wild and windswept coast has secured a premier environmental award.

The joint Meridian Energy-WEL Networks project was recognised at the Deloitte Energy Excellence Awards on Wednesday, taking out the environmental excellence award.

The challenging wind farm project, which was delivered 2 1/2 weeks ahead of schedule, included construction of 26 kilometres of road, co-operation with contracts, consultants and consenting authorities to optimise civil works and minimise the construction's footprint.

Judges were impressed by the innovative use of environmental control measures. They admired the controls to prevent sediment erosion, as well as the connection with local residents.

"This paid off raising the bar in how to get a difficult project over the line with smart environmental management."

The use of the largest wheeled crane in New Zealand – a 600-tonne capacity narrow-wheeled crane – allowed the team to reduce road widths from 10 metres to six metres and just-in-time delivery of turbine elements and a two-crane operation helped minimise the size of crane platforms. Soil conditioning reduced cut-to-waste, haul distances and fuel use, while 40,000 native plants were planted to restore the landscape.

Meridian said the innovations ensured consent compliance.

The project also received the inaugural Environment Waikato Earthworks Site of the Year award.

Other winners: Overall Energy Company of the Year, Z Energy; Innovation in Electricity Award, Powerco – Leading Innovation; Innovation in Petroleum Award, Contact Energy & Origin Energy – Ahuroa gas storage facility; Excellence in Health & Safety Award, MB Century – The Path to HSE Excellence; Young Energy Executive of the Year, James Kilty – Contact Energy; Energy Executive of the Year, Patrick Strange – Transpower; Lines Company of the Year, Powerco; Energy Retailer of the Year, Mercury Energy; Editor's award for outstanding contribution to the sector, Roger Sutton.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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