By the end of the year, British engineering company Seawind is to begin operating a wind turbine at the highest elevation yet attempted when it turns the switch on a DeWind 2 MW turbine located 4000 metres above sea level in Argentina's Andes Mountains, according to project manager Pieter D'Haen. The turbine is being installed by Seawind for mining company Barrick Gold as part of its energy supply at the Veladero mine in San Juan province. Seawind, which developed the project from scratch, has completed the groundwork, foundations and electrical work and was erecting the turbine last month. With the harsh mountain conditions, the wind turbine needed to be adapted to high altitudes, low air density, freezing temperatures, snow and seismic activity in the region. The wind speeds average a good 7 m/s at the site. Seawind had to face complex logistics to get the components up the mountain, requiring specially engineered transport frames for the blades, with severe ice and snow regularly halting work. The company would not disclose the investment in the project. DeWind is owned by America's Composite Technology Corporation (CTC), which is in the process of shifting the majority of turbine production from DeWind's former home in Germany to the US, where CTC is collaborating with TECO-Westinghouse to ramp up a manufacturing facility.
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Senior Renewable Energy Analyst (WindGEMINI Product Lead) DNV GL Bristol (City Centre), City of Bristol