Thanks to an unusual wind turbine variation built on Grouse Mountain near Vancouver, BC, they won’t have to. The wind turbine, The Eye of the Wind, includes an elevator and viewing deck or pod open to the public. It is the first in the world.
French escalator manufacturer Kone Inc., designed the lift for the wind turbine. The company called in its marine department to assist because of seismic requirements, limited space inside the tower, and a continuously swaying structure.
A few construction and logistical challenges included the size of many components and the unusual mountaintop location. For instance, the pod sits 1,231 m (4,039 feet) above the city. The structure’s hexagon foundation measures 2-m high, 8-m wide. The concrete base uses anchors imbedded deep into bedrock, some as deep as 15 m. The most complex task was transporting the three, 37.3-m long blades which came by freighter from Europe to nearby docks. For their final leg, a large Air Crane helicopter lifted the blades to the peak.
The wind turbine tower was manufactured in Washington State in three sections. Each is close to 20-m long and made from structural steel weighing up to 45,454 kg/section. Wind turbine tower sections were transported on low-bed trailers along expressways and city roads, and finally at a walking pace up Grouse Mountain’s winding 13 km back road.
The viewPOD, designed and manufactured in France, was transported by freighter to the east coast of Canada and by train to Vancouver. This steel-and-glass capsule was assembled on the ground before being lifted into place.
To prepare for construction, a crane was brought to the project site in 17 separate truck loads. It was assembled on the site over three days. This crane can lift 300 tons with its 90-m boom.
Wind turbine assembly took another three days. Each component was lifted by the crane and bolted into place. The three tower sections were lifted first, followed by the viewPOD, the wind turbine machine carrier, then the generator, and the blades. The blades were pre-assembled to the hub and lifted as one unit. The months following saw installation of the elevator inside the tower and completion of the electrical components.