The Brooklyn wind turbine, on the hills above Wellington, is the oldest operating wind turbine in New Zealand. It began generating in 1993 and operated reliably for 17 years before any major repairs were required. In 2010 the wind turbine was out of commission for several months while Meridian Energy, the wind turbine's operator, waited for the delivery of parts to repair it.
Before deciding to repair the turbine Meridian asked Wellingtonians if the turbine should be repaired, replaced or removed. An overwhelming 85% of respondents said they wanted a turbine operating at the site - with about equal numbers supporting repairing and replacing it. One respondent wrote there are "wind sculptures in Wellington which seem to need regular dollops of money to keep them going, but I guess this is the only one that pays its way".
ECNZ (Electricity Corporation of New Zealand) installed the Brooklyn wind turbine as part of a research project to find out how wind turbines perform in New Zealand conditions and how wind turbines compare with other forms of generation.
The Brooklyn site was chosen for the wind evaluation project because of Wellington's strong winds. Since it was installed, the turbine has set international generation records for turbines of its size.
Meridian Energy inherited the single turbine when the company was formed in 1999. Power generated by the turbine is fed into the local network for general distribution in Wellington.
The Vestas V27 turbine has a blade length of 13.5 meters. The turbine tower is 31 metres tall, about half the size of the 70 metre turbine towers at Te Äpiti Wind Farm, north of the Manawatu Gorge.
The Brooklyn wind turbine has a capacity of 225 kilowatts (or 0.225 megawats). Over the course of a year it generates the same amount of electricity as 80 homes use in the same period.
The turbine is remotely monitored and automatically controlled.
The blades turn at fixed speeds of 33 revolutions per minute (rpm) in wind speeds of less than 23 kilometres per hour (kph) or at 43 rpm in wind speeds above 23 kph. The turbine achieves its maximum generating capacity of 225 kilowatts when wind speeds are between 50 kph and 80 kph. If the wind is over 80 kph the turbine will automatically shut down.
Meridian are currently proposing to replace the current turbine with a new, bigger, better and taller turbine - this would generate four times as much electricity, enough to power around 490 homes.
The public viewing area at Brooklyn Wind Turbine provides panoramic views of Wellington. Access is off Ashton Fitchett Drive, Brooklyn, Wellington.
Operator: Meridian Energy
Year installed: 1993
Number of turbines: 1
Installed capacity: 0.225 megawatts
Nominal annual generation: 1000 megawatt hours
Blade length: 13.5 metres
Tower height: 31.5 metres
Weight: 22.8 tonnes
To see the wind turbine, change the view to satellite and zoom in.