When we arrived in Whitemark we noticed action up on the hill. As twilight fell, we could see workers and a crane erecting a huge tower. Later that same evening, a truck parked up alongside our temporary holiday home (Elvstan Cottages) and my curious wife came back with the news that the two gentlemen were operating the crane up on the hill.

Flinders Island Wind Turbine ~ Tasmanian Entrepreneur

by Roger Findlay

At the Whitemark Interstate Hotel on ANZAC Day night the same gentlemen were enjoying a meal with a group of fellow workers and it wasn’t long before I took the opportunity to introduce myself to Frank the site manager. I also arranged to meet Frank on site the following day.

As I approached the tower, Frank was coming towards me. He had to be at Lady Barron for the loading of the trucks and crane for the shipment back to Bridport. With permission, I got a few photos but most of the action was over except for the final connection and commissioning.

Robert Nichols of Nichols Poultry in Sassafras, Tasmania is an exceptionally successful businessman. He has his own wind turbines that provide all of the energy for the poultry operation and I would recommend that you check-out that website.

Just like me, Robert is from the East Midlands in the UK and we have a few things in common. But he leaves me for dead when it comes to business and enterprise!

Robert has a branch of his business called Blowing in the Wind for the installation of wind turbines. He has kindly provided the information below for Think Tasmania with regard to the latest installation on Flinders Island:

The turbine on Flinders Island is an Enercon E 30 machine. These are German made and are regarded as the best in the world. The “30” relates to the diameter of the blades (ie 30 metres). It is also by coincidence that the height of the tower is 30 metres. In favourable winds (and in Flinders there are many!) it will produce up to 300kw of power. This is a challenge on Flinders Island as the demand on a summer’s night can be less; as such the turbine chosen for this project has the ability to “spill” some wind by feathering the blades and reducing the output to match the demand. All of this is done in conjunction with the Hydro/Aurora power station at Whitemark via a control system that regulates the output to suit the demand.

The E30 can convert wind into energy at a range of wind speeds from as low as 2.5 metres per second up to a maximum of 30 metres per second. Above this figure it is a danger to the machine to operate and so it will shut down. The optimal output is achieved at around 12 to 14 metres per second.  In total the tower weighs 26 ton; the Nacelle weighs 16 ton and the rotor weighs 7 ton.

The turbine is expected to produce about 25% of the island’s energy. This is the third turbine that my company Blowing in the Wind (BTW) has constructed, but the first away from mainland Tasmania. We hope to start construction of our fourth turbine in a few weeks’ time when the paperwork is complete. The Flinders Island project has been a challenging one with logistics to the island being a major issue. However, we hope that the experience gained by completing the job safely and on time will enable BTW to become involved in other embedded generation projects.

Rob, we thank you for this information. Now it’s my ambition to have a guided tour of Nichols Poultry (by yourself of course) followed by a chat about our old stomping ground.

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Map: Wind Turbine, Whitemark Flinders Island

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