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Ross Island research station

Support of the Antarctic New Zealand and United States Antarctic Programs

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 PowerStoreTM in conjunction with ABB’s 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 the 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 litres 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.

Main data

Commissioning year: 2009
Region:  Ross Island, Antarctica 
Customer:  The New Zealand Antarctic Institute and Meridian Energy Ltd 
Power system type:

Wind/diesel/PowerStoreTM, Microgrid controller

Frequency: Scott Base 50 Hz
McMurdo Base 60 Hz
Installed generation capacity: 2055 kW

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