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Powering the remote Chatham Islands with wind

Wind turbines on Chatham Island


Chatham Island Trust


Chatham Islands

About The Project

Chatham Island, administered by the Chatham Islands Trust, is located about 800 km due east of Christchurch, New Zealand and is home to 700 permanent residents. The island’s power station consists of five Caterpillar diesel generating sets of varying sizes from 120kW to 275kW.  Power is distributed on the island using an 11kV overhead and underground distribution network. Diesel power is expensive with the power price on the island at NZ$1.10/kWh. 

The Trust commenced a project to reduce the island’s use of and reliance on diesel generation through wind turbines. The two wind turbines were supplied by French manufacturer, Vergnet and displace 45% of Chatham Island’s diesel generation. They can be lowered for cyclonic winds and maintenance.

CNF was appointed to install the wind turbines, connect them to the grid and deliver the project as an EPCM.  The project consists of two (2) 225kW wind turbines and an innovative control system to manage the power and diesel scheduling on the electrical network.

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Major Achievements

  • CNF overcame many logistical challenges to build and deliver the wind turbines on the remote island.

Project Innovations

Building on its experience on King Island, CNF developed a high penetration dispatch system to enable high instantaneous penetrations of wind power while maintaining power system integrity.

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