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Advanced route planning helps to transport 61 wind turbines

  • Onshore Wind

  • Project logistics

  • Protected infrastructure

  • Rapid response

  • Chile

Chile’s Energy Route 2018–2022 is an initiative that hopes to bring together stakeholders in the renewable industry. 

Following its announcement, Spain’s Acciona was contracted to build four new renewable energy projects in Chile, adding 400 megawatts (MW) across two solar farms and two wind farms. Acciona chose Mammoet to transport wind turbine components across the country. 

The challenge Mammoet faced was navigating the route from the port to the wind farm site. The sheer size, weight, and volume of components meant that the route had to be carefully planned. To solve this, Mammoet surveyed the route using manual measurements as well as topographical and software simulations using AutoCAD and AutoTURN to evaluate tight bends. 

San Gabriel wind farm – the final destination – is located in the municipality of Renaico in the region of La Araucanía. Mammoet was tasked with unloading the components from ships arriving at Lirquén Port near the city of Concepcion. After receiving the components, they had to be transported some 230km near the town of Renaico. 

To transport the blades, in particular, Mammoet made adjustments to the route, such as cutting into part of a mountain to achieve the necessary turn radius and also temporarily shutting down a hydropower station to relocate the transmission line. These subcontracting works were coordinated by Mammoet, in order to make all the upgrades to the route in the time-scale necessary to achieve the schedule of the project.

Each wind turbine was made of concrete segments, as well as a nacelle, which houses the generator; a hub, to which the blades are attached; and the blades themselves. In total, there were 976 components. Each nacelle weighed 105t and each blade weighed 18t with a length of 65m, making the components difficult to transport on conventional trailers and under standard bridge heights.

The equipment Mammoet used ranged from 24 axle lines, three-blade trailers, two low boys, and five expandable trailers to accommodate the tower sections. Mammoet worked with local authorities to obtain all relevant permits.

Mammoet was able to turn around the project within three months of being appointed. This was made possible thanks to Mammoet’s experience of delivering parts to the most remote locations around the world. Not only does this improve the cost per kWh of transporting components, but it is also vital to getting renewable energy projects up and running.

Once completed, San Gabriel will be home to 61 wind turbines, adding 183MW of renewable energy to the grid, with an investment of $300m.