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A project of the Townsville City Council Sustainable Townsville Program.

The Lakes Wind Project,
Stormwater Quality Management Powered by the Wind.

Townsville City Council is using wind power to improve urban stormwater quality in an urban area.

  • Wind power for water quality management

  • Removes nutrients and sediments

  • Aerates the Lake

  • Wind power in an urban environment

  • Australian Southern Cross technology

The Lakes Wind Project involves the use of a the horizontal axis Southern Cross wind mill to move water from the bottom of the Curralia Lake through a stormwater treatment facility and back into the lake.

The Stormwater treatment facility is primarily designed to treat stormwater that flows from high volume rain events. However, outside of rain events, this facility had little effect at treating the water already in the lakes. The use of the windmill therefore increases the value of the water treatment system by moving lake water through it.

The Southern Cross windmill is iconic Australian technology. It is distinctive compared to the energy producing wind turbines with three blades because it is designed to operate in low wind speeds and to pump water rather than generate electricity. The multiple blades facilitate this low speed, high torque application.

Local native plants including mangroves and this pandanas, were planted around and in the water treatment system to provide habitat for native fauna.

Winds in Townsville

Studies have shown that Townsville's annual average wind speed is about 6.9 - 7.1 metres per second along the coast. However, these figures need to be interpreted for the Lakes Wind Project.

For example, the wind speeds monitored on the coast we modelled assuming a height of 65 metres (hub height of a REpower MM70).

The Lakes wind turbine is only about 10 metres high to the hub (the centre of the blades). It is known that wind speed increases with height as a result of shear forces (resistance) of the wind against the ground.

Another important consideration is that the coastal sites received a largely uninterrupted flow of wind from the Southeast of Townsville. The Lakes wind turbine would receive turbulent air as a result of the proximity of buildings.

The location of Castle Hill would also influence the winds reaching the Lakes Wind Turbine. In some wind directions, the Hill might actually increase winds reaching the turbine, in other wind directions the Castle Hill would probably block the wind.

Curralia Lakes video.

The video shows the wind mill in the distance spinning in the breeze and in the foreground, water being pumped into the system. Run time: 20 seconds

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