Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Revived roof turbines get their second wind

Hobart Mercury
1 Oct 2011, Page: 13

Wind turbines atop the Marine Board Building on Hobart's waterfront are operating again. In August last year two of the four wind turbines failed, causing $100,000 damage less than a month after they began operating. But now the wind power is being collected again with four new turbines. The new turbines have more safety mechanisms including improved braking, said Rob Manson, director of the I Want Energy company, which operates the turbines.

He said he was "100% happy" an incident like the previous one would not occur. "A lot of thought and effort has gone into it they are a lot stronger", Mr Manson said. Project manager Keith Drew said the launch of the new turbines yesterday was the culmination of months of work and testing to improve the design and ensure the safety systems worked.

"The braking mechanism on the turbines has now been redesigned so that unlike the previous design, where it was possible to allow the turbines to start operating without activating the electromechanical brakes, by default the brakes will be on unless all safety systems are operating properly", he said. "The brakes will now only release when there is electrical power to the system and the weather conditions are suitable for the turbines to operate safely. "This means the brakes come on if there is a loss of power, if the wind becomes too strong or if the control system has detected a fault".

Mr Drew said extra caution had been taken to ensure confidence in the new system and Workplace Standards had been closely involved. People wanting to access the roof of the building need a security card. There are also video cameras monitoring the rooftop. "This new system of check and double-check, then triple-check along with the redesigned control systems of the wind turbines means the installation is now as safe as we can possibly make it", Mr Drew said. The turbines will be continually monitored and independently checked to ensure they are operated properly and pose no risk to public safety. The four turbines could generate up to 10% of the building's power consumption.