Case study: Turitea Wind Farm

Standing atop the Tararua Ranges overlooking Palmerston North sits a constellation of wind turbines. Known as the Turitea Wind Farm, it’s the latest renewable energy project for NZ.

The Turitea Wind Farm, located in the heart of the Taraua Ranges, was completed in early 2023

While New Zealand’s wind energy industry may be small, it’s growing steadily, with a total of 581 turbines across 17 farms. Harnessing the windy weather conditions across the Manawatū region, the strong natural resource is delivering a high-capacity factor by international standards and fast-tracking New Zealand toward its renewable
energy targets.

Located in the heart of the Taraua Ranges, the Turitea Wind Farm was completed in early 2023 and is celebrating its first birthday. The $465 million project is one of the nation’s most recent additions to New Zealand’s growing renewable energy industry and takes the title of New Zealand’s largest wind farm. Over the past year, the farm, which consists of 60 turbines, has generated enough power to supply 120,000 households or two percent of the national electricity demand.

Owned by Mercury Energy, the construction of the wind farm began in late 2019 but was delayed due to COVID-19 restrictions and a fire at the Port of Napier.

The farm consists of 60 turbines, generating enough power to supply 120,000 households

Despite the setbacks, the shared goal of delivering energy freedom and a sustainable, low emissions future remained a priority, leading to multiple teams across a range of industries coming together to get the job done.

One of the biggest challenges in building a wind farm is transporting the giant componentry needed to construct each turbine. Standing at roughly 94 metres tall and weighing 164 tonnes fully assembled, the transportation of the components is a complex and technically difficult task.

There are only a few New Zealand transport operators possessing the specialist skills, experience, and equipment required to complete the
job. Successfully transporting such enormous loads on New Zealand roads, in all weather conditions, is not a job for the faint-hearted.

Stepping up

The $465 million project is one of NZ’s most recent additions

PTS Logistics, headquartered in Palmerston North, stepped up to the challenge. First established in 1976, PTS Logistics initially serviced the Palmerston North area with one tow truck and a single car trailer. Building on its humble beginnings, owners Scott and Vicki Miers expanded the business into an operation focused on specialised freight.

PTS now has depots across New Zealand with a modern fleet of vehicles transporting agricultural and forestry equipment, machinery, motor vehicles, shipping containers, and wind turbines.

"The tools of the trade have certainly changed since when I started," says Scott. "Everything is much bigger and better nowadays. Trucks are more reliable and can take greater loads, allowing us to help transport machinery and equipment that people would’ve laughed at in the 1970s."

Now one of New Zealand’s key transport companies, PTS Logistics employs more than 450 staff and operates 350 trucks across 18 branches, with industries around the nation relying upon the services provided.

PTS Windmills-4.jpg

When offered the opportunity and upholding their commitment to move ‘almost anything, anytime, and anywhere’, PTS Logistics accepted the challenge to support the Turitea Wind Farm by delivering the necessary components to the site.

"We delivered all the materials for the wind turbines, including the tower sections, the blades, and the turbines. Our largest truck and trailer combinations are 80 metres long and rated for loads over​ 200 tonnes, so they could easily deal with the weight of the loads. However, the major challenge was New Zealand winter. The days are short and the weather can be very harsh and unpredictable," Scott says.

"During a normal storm, you expect the rain to come straight down. When we were delivering the turbines, the rain was coming in sideways, making it challenging to operate a heavy haul unit, especially when laden with well over 100 tonnes of equipment."

PTS Logistics delivered the necessary components to the site

Before tackling the challenge, Scott spoke with his local Kubota dealer about how he could best equip the business for the mission at hand. For the difficult working conditions, Scott looked to Kubota’s RTV-XG850 sidekick.

"It was the perfect addition. We were easily able to add a few extra lighting attachments so we could work in the dark, as well as adding in a clear, Perspex roof to maintain visibility above in poor weather. It was a great addition, and I’m not sure how we would have coped without it," Scott says.

"Being in the transport industry is a rewarding career and being involved in this project has been a highlight. Ensuring we were able to get the job done on time and meet the customer’s expectations is a great motivator.

Navigating the difficult working conditions was made easier by adding a Kubota RTV-XG850 sidekick

"The variety of things we deliver through PTS Logistics keeps our work engaging; one load is always going to be different from the next and that’s why it was so great to work on the Turitea Wind Farm.

"The challenging conditions tested our equipment and extended our creative thinking skills; it was not an easy task, but it was so fulfilling to look at the final product.

"Wind farms will continue to play a huge role in New Zealand’s renewable energy future, and PTS Logistics will be proud to continue playing a key role in that."

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