The Gebbies Pass wind turbine is Windflow Technology’s prototype and test turbine. It is situated on the Banks Peninsula in Canterbury, at the top of Gebbies Pass. This site is ideal for testing the turbine’s capabilities in turbulent winds.
The turbine was officially opened on 9 July 2003 by Hon. Pete Hodgson, the then Minister for Energy. It was the first wind turbine built in the South Island and also the first New Zealand designed and made turbine.
The turbine is named "Neil" after the late Dr Neil Cherry, the first Chairman of Windflow.
The Windflow 500 turbine has two blades with a rotor diameter of 33.2 metres. The tubular steel tower is 30 metres tall. The turbine measures 47 metres from the ground to the tip of the blade. The blades rotate between 48 to 50 rotations per minute.
The turbine starts generating when wind speeds reach 20 kilometres per hour (kph). It reaches its maximum output of 500 kilowatts when wind speeds reach 50 kph. The turbine shuts itself off when wind speeds reach 108 kph. The Windflow turbine captures more energy in high wind speeds as this cut out speed is higher than many other turbines, which tend stop generating when wind speeds reach 90 kph.
In 2005 the turbine was damaged by a freak wind incident. The wind shifted 180 degrees in 90 seconds and the turbine’s yaw mechanism (which turns the nacelle into the wind) did not moving fast enough. The repairs were covered by insurance and measures were taken to prevent a repeat of the incident.
Initially the turbine met the Council’s requirement of a sound level below 40 dBA. However, the neighbouring McQueens Valley is particularly quiet, especially at night, as it is sheltered in most wind directions. For this reason Windflow agreed that the sound from the turbine in the valley would be below 30 dBA. Windflow closed down the turbine while working on a solution to lower the sound level, in particular gear box improvements. In 2004 the turbine was up and running again, this time below 30 dBA.
The turbine can be viewed from various places along Summit Road and Gebbies Pass Road. As the turbine is located on private land, it is not possible to walk up to the turbine. However, Windflow does arrange open days for the public several times during the summer. For more information visit www.windflow.co.nz
Operator: Windflow Technology
Year installed: 2003
Number of turbines: 1
Installed capacity: 0.5 megawatts
Nominal annual generation: 1.3 gigawatt hours
Blade length: 16.2 metres
Tower height: 30 metres
Weight: 28.2 tonnes
To see the wind turbine, change the view to satellite and zoom in.