The world’s southernmost wind farm, built by New Zealand’s Meridian Energy, has been opened in Antarctica.

The three turbines will supply about 1 megawatt of electricity to New Zealand’s Scott Base and the American McMurdo Station.

Scott Bennett, project manager with Meridian Energy, says the wind farm will supply about 11% of the power used by the two Antarctic bases and will cut diesel consumption by about 463,000 litres per year.

With only one supply ship a year, the project, which took two years, required meticulous planning. The towers were too big to be shipped in a container and had to be strapped to roof racks fited to an icebreaker.

If the wind farm proves a success it could be followed by others, with solar power generation also being evaluated.

There is one other wind farm in Antarctica, consisting of two turbines installed in 2003 at Australia’s Mawson Base.

Wind turbines above Scott Base (Public domain photo)
Wind turbines above Scott Base
(Public domain photo)