“Antarctica has intrinsic value as a natural reserve, devoted to peace and science. New Zealand, guided by manaakitanga, is committed to preserving and protecting Antarctica and the Southern Ocean for present and future generations.”
New Zealand’s Statement of Commitment to Antarctica and the Southern Ocean (2019)
Antarctica New Zealand is committed to minimizing the redevelopment’s impact on the environment and is conducting a Comprehensive Environmental Evaluation that will outline the intended activity, describe the current environmental state, identify the potential environmental impacts, and describe how those impacts will be avoided or mitigated to the fullest extent possible.
The sustainability of the new base will be measured by a custom Green Star tool which takes the harsh realities of the Antarctic environment into account. An independent review of the redevelopment will enable Antarctica New Zealand to maximise opportunities to design, construct and operate the new base in an efficient and sustainable way.
The tool encourages the use of more sustainable materials, reduced waste, and more efficient systems designed to lower energy use. It promotes practices that would lower the new base’s contribution to climate change and enhances the health and wellbeing of the people living and working at Scott Base.
Three 330Kw wind turbines currently supply renewable energy to power Scott Base and the neighbouring American base at McMurdo Station. The Ross Island Wind Energy project links the electrical grids of both bases and reduces the carbon footprint of the Antarctic operations, as well as the environmental risks associated with transporting diesel fuel to Antarctica.
The wind turbines will come to the end of their design life in 2030 and will need to be replaced. This is due to a number of reasons, including aging technology and software support issues, but mainly because of the structural design life constraints of the foundations.
The new base will be larger than the existing one and has a higher renewable energy goal. The existing wind farm will not meet the energy requirements of the new base due to the transition to non-fossil fuel heating systems (electric boilers).
Antarctica New Zealand is looking at all forms of renewable energy to decrease the overall reliance on fossil fuels to power the new Scott Base. Options are still being assessed but the desire is to provide between 80% and 100% of the new Scott Base electrical demand per annum through renewable energy solutions. This includes wind turbines, battery storage systems and smallscale solar installations. The new renewable energy solution will, at a minimum, maintain existing renewable energy agreements with the United States Antarctic Program but has the potential to increase the support provided to McMurdo Station.