New Zealand’s Scott Base and America’s McMurdo Station in Antarctica are home to about 1,200 people in the summer. These important research stations have always relied on fossil fuels for power, but with the installation of wind turbines and the PowerStore in conjunction with Hitachi ABB Power Grids' control technology, the reliance on fossil fuels has been greatly reduced.
The project was part of the New Zealand government’s initiative to contribute to the joint support of Antarctic New Zealand and United States Antarctic Programs.
Meridian Energy’s Director of Growth and Development, Ken Smales, highlighted that it was a complex project not because of the extreme weather but because the turbines had to be integrated with the diesel generation plants of the two bases, which operate on different frequencies - 50Hz (NZ) and 60Hz (US).
The solution consists of a 500 kW PowerStore grid stability system, the Microgrids Control (MGC 600) distributed control system for the integration of all the power station equipment, and of 3 wind turbines of 300 kW each.
On average the system will save approximately 460,000 liters of diesel fuel every year, which will not only reduce CO2 emissions but also reduce the risk of damaging the natural environment through the transportation of such high quantities of diesel.