The world's highest wind turbine has been placed at the Veladero mine, San Juan, Argentina, in the Cordillera de Los Andes, 4,200 m above sea level.

UK engineering company Seawind was responsible for the installation for mine owner Barrick Gold.

“The purpose of this prototype is to test the viability and to evaluate the windmill performance for the possible implementation, on a commercial scale, of wind power at this height and on this type of land,” the company says.

Temperatures can hit –35°C at night, while the maximum daytime temperature is 15°C. Winds reach 150 km/h.

A Terex Demag CC 200 lattice boom crawler crane was provided by rental company Tecmaco Integral, based in Argentina, to erect the turbine. Tecmaco also supplied a 120 tonne capacity Liebherr LTM 1120 telescopic all terrain crane, used for support tasks, including assembling the principal equipment. The AT also assisted by hoisting the tower parts and the rotor with blades mounted.

The project cost a total of US$8.5 million.

Turbine statistics

Prototype wind generator

• Blade length: 40 m

• Tower height: 60 m

• Total height: 100 m

• Tower weight: 110 tonnes

• Nacelle weight: 72.5 tonnes

• Rotor weight: 24 tonnes

• Blade weight: 7.5 tonnes each

• Total weight: 230 tonnes

• Nacelle capacity: 2 MW

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