WARWICK, QUEENSLAND: New trucks capable of transporting turbine blades weighing more than 29,000kg eliminating the need for long trailers have arrived on site at the MacIntyre Wind Farm which means smaller internal access roads and minimising the need for vegetation clearing.

More than 20,000 square metres of farmland and vegetation will be left undisturbed at the construction site as part of an Australian first deployment of world leading transport technology.

The new trucks will now attach turbine blades to hydraulically operated adapter that can manipulate the blade around tight corners and over vegetation, eliminating the need for resting turbine blades flat on massive trailers and the need for large sweeping roads to accommodate them.

“The MacIntyre Wind Farm is built on rough country dominated by hills, ravines, vegetation and rock. It’s a lot of work to build internal access roads to transport turbine blades within the project,” said ACCIONA Energia Director of Engineering and Construction Andrew Tshaikiwsky.

“With this Australian first equipment we can now transport turbine blades around the project site and greatly reduce the amount of roadwork and clearing.”

The two new ‘Blade Manipulators’ have been deployed to the MacIntyre Wind Farm during October and are currently in operation. ACCIONA Energia is also using similar technology in Peru, to navigate roads passing through towns and mountains.

Each of the new Blade Manipulators use a large hydraulically driven device mounted onto a 10 axle trailer, manufactured in Australia, and capable of transporting a single 80 metre blade. The blade can be raised to a maximum of 40 degrees lifting the blade over vegetation and obstacles allowing it to easily move safely around tighter corners before being lowered back down.

It’s estimated the new blade transports will reduce the amount of earthworks and soil disturbance required on the project by 250,000 cubic metres across the project’s 200km of internal roads.

“These new blade transport trucks are a marvel of engineering. We no longer require long rigid trailers that are difficult to move around site. With this new transport method we can use much shorter transport vehicles and greatly reduce the amount of cut and fill needed on internal access roads reducing the footprint of the windfarm overall”.

The new technology being deployed not only creates a reduced environmental footprint for the MacIntyre Wind Farm but also creates new skills within the booming renewables sector. Transport and logistics teams working on this project will have new experience and training for what will become an industry standard.

“Lots of projects around the country have rough terrain and we can see technology like this being deployed in the field all over Australia as the industry works to minimise the environmental footprints of projects.”

The skills learned from new technologies such as these will help ensure a better equipped, trained and prepared workforce as we transition to an energy grid primarily supplied by renewable energy.

“As part of building the biggest wind farm in the southern hemisphere and the first ‘gigawatt-scale’ project in Australia’s energy transition we’re focused on what skills the industry may need in the future and helping to identify and bring those capabilities forward.”

Queensland Minister for Energy and Public Works, Mick de Benni said the innovation was pushing the industry forward.

“Queensland is not only leading the clean energy transition when it comes to reliability, but now is leading on efforts to lower the environmental footprint of projects too.”

“Through the Queensland Energy and Jobs Plan we are committed to working with all stakeholders, and thanks to ACCIONA Energia, we are now combining climate action with conservation.”