The turbines are being supplied through a contract Westwind has signed with telecommunications company NEC Australia for supply, supervision and installation in China of the turbines. They will be spaced along a fibre optic link being laid from Yining near the Russian border to Lanzhou, south of Beijing. The cable passes through some of the world's harshest terrain and the wind turbines will have to operate over a wide range of desert temperatures, from over 40¡C in summer to minus 40¡C in winter. The conditions are so extreme that installation of the machines can only take place at certain times of the year.
The remote location of many of the repeater stations along the link has resulted in the use of wind and solar power at many sites. Westwind Turbines sees telecommunications' applications as a growth market for its turbines. The current project is part of the Chinese government's five year plan to install 12,000 kilometres of telecommunications cable and the new cable may be extended to form the main telecommunications link between China and Europe.
News of Westwind's contract emerged at December's International Solar Energy Conference in Perth, Western Australia, a full report of which will be published in the February issue of Windpower Monthly.