Folding turbines duck out of tropical storms

March 18, 2016

Folding masts are being used as mounts for wind turbines on a South Pacific archipelago to protect them during tropical storms.

Back in service: the folding mast can be quickly reassembled to continue providing energy
Back in service: the folding mast can be quickly reassembled to continue providing energy

The turbines’ masts can fold flat to avoid damage in the devastating high winds of the region’s tropical storms.

On the Vanuatu group of islands, six wind parks are now operational, having been installed by Alizés Energie, a subsidiary of French energy major Engie, formerly known as GDF Suez.

Installed on Grande Terre and the island of Lifou, the six farms contain 100 turbines that generate a total of 24 MW of power.

As well as protecting them from extreme winds, the technology means that the machines can be generating electricity again very soon after a storm to carry on providing energy to islanders.

Editor’s comment: Renewable energy technology is only beneficial if it is sustainable. By making systems resilient, even in remote off-grid applications, such technology offers an opportunity to achieve long-term change for millions of people currently living without access to energy.

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