The wind farm will be NSW’s largest once it is completed.
It is owned by CWP Renewables, a joint venture between two European renewable energy companies, and was one of two successful projects in the ACT’s 2015 second wind auction.
The farm entered into a 20 year contract to supply 100 megawatts of its 270 megawatt output to the ACT government and by mid next year 32 wind turbines will come online to supply energy for the territory.
“Construction commenced in January 2017 on the 100 megawatt Sapphire 1 wind farm, which is another significant step in progress towards the ACT’s 100 per cent renewable energy by 2020 target,” Mr Rattenbury said.
“The ACT supported part of the wind farm will generate 349,703 megawatt-hours per year.”
The ACT government’s reverse auctions have secured generating capacities of 40 megawatts from large-scale solar and 600 megawatts from wind farms over the past few years…… http://www.canberratimes.com.au/act-news/nsws-sapphire-wind-farm-to-power-49000-act-homes-20170426-gvtejh.html
Construction underway on Victoria’s 132MW Mt Gellibrand wind farm http://reneweconomy.com.au/construction-underway-on-victorias-132mw-mt-gellibrand-wind-farm-88672/ By Sophie Vorrath on 19 April 2017 Acciona Energy has broken ground on its 132MW Mt Gellibrand wind farm, a $258 million project in Victoria’s western plains that was fast-tracked after winning a state government tender designed to reboot renewables investment in the state, and side-step a capital strike by major utilities.
At a turning of the sod ceremony at the wind farm’s site, 25km east of Colac, Acciona managing director Andrew Thomson said the company expected to see Mt Gellibrand “pouring” clean energy into the grid within about 15 months – at a time when the nation would be seeking to increase its capacity for renewable power generation.
Thomson said the new wind farm would be a “massive economic driver” for the region over the next 25 years, creating 100 local jobs in the construction phase, and up to 10 operations and maintenance roles continuing for decades ahead.
Of course, generating local jobs and investment was a key aim of the Andrews government tender, alongside meeting its legislated target of 25 per cent renewables by 2020, and 40 per cent by 2025. Continue reading
Turnbull says Tasmania wind, hydro can become “energy battery” for Australia, Reneweconomy, By Giles Parkinson on 20 April 2017 Prime minister Malcolm Turnbull has extended his vision of large-scale pumped hydro and storage to Tasmania, outlining plans to expand the island’s existing hydropower system, and possibly add 2,500MW in pumped hydro, and describing the possibility that the state could become the “renewable energy battery” for Australia. Continue reading
Ararat Wind Farm fully commissioned, supplying power to Victoria and ACT http://reneweconomy.com.au/ararat-wind-farm-fully-commissioned-supplying-power-to-victoria-and-act-51770/ By Sophie Vorrath on 19 April 2017 The recently completed 240MW Ararat Wind Farm in south-western Victoria is now operating at full capacity, feeding enough renewable energy into the grid to power 120,000 homes, 37,000 of them in Canberra.
The wind farm, which is operated and managed by Canberra-based company Windlab, was fully commissioned on Wednesday this week, after several years in the works. It first began sending power to the grid in Victoria in August 2016. This graph below, from the Energy and Climate College, shows how it has expanded production.
The project gained significance as the first wind farm to be contracted after the reinstatement of a bipartisan federal renewable energy target – that is, after the Coalition and Labor agreed to cut the RET to 33,000GWh from 41,000GWh).
In Ararat’s case, the go-ahead was buoyed by the signing of a power purchase agreement with the ACT government, which guaranteed the purchase of approximately 40 per cent of its annual output – a contract it is now delivering on.
“The ACT’s agreement with the Ararat Wind Farm provided certainty for investors and enabled construction to commence in late 2015,” ACT climate minister Shane Rattenbury said on Wednesday.
“This is good news for consumers as well as climate change mitigation, as the ACT government has locked-in a set price for the renewable electricity produced by 10 wind and solar projects, including Ararat, for the next 20 years.”
Rattenbury – whose predecessor, Simon Corbell, is widely regarded as the mastermind of the nation-leading renewables policy – said that the Capital was showing the federal government how to deliver on clean energy.
“If the generators make more money than the set price for the electricity they sell into the national electricity market, they pay the difference back to the ACT,” Rattenbury said.
Ararat Mayor, Paul Hooper, described the wind farm as a “really significant” project for the city, bringing $450 million of investment, 350 jobs at its construction peak, and more than $40 million into the local economy during construction, which lasted about 18 months.
“It was completed on time and to a very high standard,” Hooper said, adding that project developer RES Australia had been “…very, very good corporate citizens” throughout the development.
Beetaloo Valley residents to fight against planned $500 million solar and wind farm by Neoen Erin Jones, Regional Reporter, The Advertiser April 17, 2017 SOUTHERN Flinders Ranges residents are vowing to stop a 50-turbine wind farm from ruining the landscape, fearing the project will be fast-tracked because of the state’s energy crisis.
People who blame sickness on windfarms ‘may be bypassing doctor’ Windfarm commissioner’s first report says complainants may fail to seek medical advice ‘due to the possibly incorrect assumption’ that nearby turbines are to blame,Guardian, Elle Hunt, 10 Apr 17 The office of the national windfarm commissioner is concerned people are not going to the doctor because they are incorrectly attributing symptoms of illness to windfarms.
Commissioner Andrew Dyer published his first report to the Australian parliament on 31 March which revealed the office had received 90 complaint between November 2015 and 31 December 2016.
Complainants cited health conditions including “sleep disturbance, headaches, earaches, ‘pounding’ in the ears, tinnitus, tachycardia, high blood pressure, sight impairment, diabetes, chest-tightening, nausea and general fatigue”, which they blamed on both audible and low-frequency noise, “including infrasound, emanating from turbines”.
Because complainants gave only “anecdotal evidence” it was difficult to establish causality with the windfarm’s operations, the report noted. It expressed concern that complainants may fail to seek medical advice “due to the possibly incorrect assumption” that a nearby windfarm was to blame.
But the report also noted that the presence of a windfarm or concerns about a proposed one could cause stress, annoyance or anxiety that could, in turn, result in health conditions. When relating to a proposed windfarm, that pressure could extend for several years.
In February last year, Dyer said half the complaints his office had received pertained to windfarms that had yet to be built.https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/apr/10/people-who-blame-sickness-on-windfarms-may-be-bypassing-doctor
Can wind turbines make you sick? Debate divides tiny Victorian town of Waubra, ABC Radio, PM By Danny Tran, 24 Mar 17, In the sleepy Victorian town of Waubra, a bitter feud over wind power is driving a wedge between neighbours and friends.
- There are 79 wind farms in Australia and more than 2,000 turbines producing 5 per cent of the nation’s electricity
- Waubra’s own wind farm is one of the largest in Australia, with 128 turbines on the properties of 37 farmers
- Wind turbine syndrome describes symptoms a small number of people claim arise from living near wind farms
About two hours north-west of Melbourne, Waubra produces enough electricity from its wind turbines to power two of Victoria’s largest regional cities.
But after almost a decade of operating, wind power remains a painful issue in the town, which is only home to about 500 people.
Waubra is so synonymous with wind power that opponents have christened the so-called illness that some claim comes with living near turbines “Waubra disease”.
The town might be at loggerheads over whether wind can make you sick, but what does the science say?
What is wind turbine syndrome?
Waubra disease, better known as wind turbine syndrome, describes a range of symptoms a small number of people claim arise from living near wind farms, ranging from headaches to nausea.
It was first coined in 2009 by New York paediatrician Dr Nina Pierpont, who claimed wind turbines disrupted the inner-ear through inaudible, low-frequency vibrations.
The claims were rubbished by science and health bodies across the world, but anti-wind power groups seized on Dr Pierpont’s claims, which quickly spread to Australia.
Experts dismiss wind turbine syndrome as the result of a “nocebo” effect, where negative expectations of symptoms can amplify an actual negative effect — the opposite of a placebo.
But that hasn’t stopped Waubra locals from taking a side………
the Australian Medical Association’s Victorian president, Dr Lorraine Barker, said that anxiety over being near wind turbines can cause symptoms of its own.
“There is no indication that infrasound, for instance, could induce the symptoms … [but] anxiety certainly can,” Dr Barker said.
“Noises that are continuous in the background can be irritating, so that level of irritation may affect someone if they are standing very close to a wind turbine.
“However, infrasound, or the sound that is beyond the detection of the human ear, is not believed to cause harm to humans.” http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-03-24/victorian-town-divided-over-wind-turbines/8373760
Renewables roadshow: how Daylesford’s windfarm took back the power
In the first of a series about Australian communities building renewable energy projects, we look at how Victoria’s Hepburn Shire overcame local opposition to deliver a new homegrown, community-owned generator, Guardian, Michael Slezak, 15 Mar 17 From the fertile spud-growing country of Hepburn Shire, 90km northwest of Melbourne, has sprung what many hope will become a revolution in renewable energy in Australia.
On Leonards Hill, just outside the town of Daylesford – famed for its natural springs – stand two wind turbines that not only power the local area, but have also added substantial power to the community-owned renewable energy movement in Australia.
The turbines, cheesily called Gusto and Gale, constitute the very first community-owned windfarm in Australia. It borrows the idea from a long tradition of community-owned power that was forgotten in Australia, but lives on strongly in Denmark.
“In Denmark there’s over 2,100 versions of this,” says Taryn Lane, the community manager for Hepburn Wind, the cooperative that owns and operates the windfarm. “Their model – this way of owning your own energy generator locally – emerged in the late 70s, so they have been doing it for decades.” .
It was at a community meeting for a large corporate-owned windfarm, like the one near Hepburn, that the idea for Hepburn Wind emerged…….
the group had overwhelming local support. “We are a cooperative of 2,007 members,” says Lane. “They’ve contributed just under $10m.”
The majority of the investors are from the local region, something the cooperative has written into its rules.Paul Howden is one of them. As with most investors in community-owned renewable energy, his motivations were a mix of hard-nosed financial ones, and the desire to do a bit of good. “Partly, obviously because it’s a renewable energy project,” he says, explaining his investment. “But also because we thought it was a good and wise investment for our super fund.
“This is a win-win for both the environment [and] the community.”
One of the things that made him confident that the project was a good investment, he says, was the level of community support it received, and the passion of the people running it.
But beyond the construction of the 4.1MW windfarm – enough to power about 2,300 households – Hepburn Wind pioneered the modern large-scale community-ownership model of renewable energy in Australia, which is now being replicated around the country.
Simon Holmes à Court was the founding chairman of Hepburn Wind. And after spending years developing a model that worked, and navigating the various logistical potholes in getting it up and running, he set up Embark, a non-profit company dedicated to helping other community energy projects adopt the Hepburn model.
Several projects around the country have received advice and support from Embark, including Pingala, which gathered locals in Sydney’s Newtown to build a solar array on the top of a brewery, and the Sydney Renewable Power Company, which recently built Australia’s largest CBD solar farm.
But back in Hepburn shire, not satisfied with the windfarm, the residents are expanding the renewables in their area.
By a picturesque lake in Daylesford, where locals go to swim and cool off, is an antique hydro generator, which used to power a few homes around the lake, and the lake’s lights. “It kept the lake area electrified,” says Lane.
In February, that was made possible when the energy retailer that buys Hepburn Wind’s electricity – Powershop – announced it had crowdfunded more than $100,000 for community-owned renewable energy projects, and one project that would receive a slice of it was Hepburn Wind’s hydro project.
“The original size was 13kWs or just under,” says Lane. “And we will look to somewhere between there and maybe up to 40kWs if we can put a side-by-side motor next to it.”
She says that will be enough to power about eight to 12 houses – not a huge amount, but it’s an easy win.
And with Hepburn shire adding its name to a growing list of councils shooting to reduce their emissions to zero, every bit counts. Says Lane: “At Hepburn Wind we really want to play our role in helping our community reach zero net emissions.” https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/mar/15/renewables-roadshow-community-owned-windfarm-daylesford-hepburn-australia
“If the same sequence of events happened today the system black would not occur,” Marxsen told the audience, according to one source.
This is an important concession from AEMO. It suggests that South Australia, even with around 40 per cent wind energy and a further 6 per cent from rooftop solar, is not at risk of a system-wide shut-down that affected the state late last year.
AEMO says wind farm changes mean SA blackout won’t be repeated http://reneweconomy.com.au/aemo-says-wind-farm-changes-mean-sa-blackout-wont-repeated-43631/ By Giles Parkinson on 6 February 2017
AEMO chairman Tony Marxsen told more than 100 energy experts at a presentation under the auspices of the Electrical Energy Society of Australia last week that the “system black” event in South Australia in September – which has set off a huge debate about renewable energy across the country – would not be repeated. Continue reading
While Barnaby Joyce trashes South Australia’s renewables, his electorate gets multi-million dollar loan for wind farm
Windfarm in Barnaby Joyce’s NSW electorate gets $120m CEFC loan Clean Energy Finance Corporation loan comes three months after minister slammed SA’s over-reliance on wind power, Guardian, Gareth Hutchens, 12 Dec 16, The Clean Energy Finance Corporation has made a multi-million dollar loan for a new windfarm in Barnaby Joyce’s electorate.
The $650 million, 116-turbine farm at Murra Warra, north of Horsham, was approved by Planning Minister Richard Wynne after no objections were received.
“We are paving the way for more investment and jobs in the wind sector and it’s great to see Murra Warra come online and deliver a boost to the region,” Mr Wynne said.
Project operator RES said the farm would create more than 600 jobs during construction, 15 ongoing jobs and remove more than one million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions a year from Victoria’s energy sector.
It is expected to generate enough energy to power 252,000 homes. RES is working with 18 families, across more than 4250ha, who are expected to receive lease payments for the turbines.
RES also manages a 75-turbine wind farm under construction at Ararat.
Second time lucky? Jupiter wind farm application lodged again, Canberra Times, 4 Dec 16 Katie Burgess
The company behind the controversial Jupiter wind farm has taken another swing at getting the green light to build 88 wind turbines near Canberra, a year after NSW officials sent them back to the drawing board.
The NSW Department of Planning and Environment struck out EPYC’s application to build the wind farm five kilometres out of the Tarago township last October, after it found the company had not sufficiently addressed environmental and community concerns.
But the joint Australian-Spanish venture has come back to the NSW Department of Environment and Planning with a revised proposal, which has now opened for public consultation.
While the original Jupiter wind farm proposal was to build 100 turbines across 25 rural properties, the new one outlines plans to build 88 turbines across 23 rural properties.
EPYC project manager Ibrahim Eid said the revised environmental impact statement included consultation with community members up to three kilometres away.
But residents of the surrounding regions have vowed to once again fight the proposal, which EPYC has been trying to get off the ground since 2014………
The wind farm will be within 15 kilometres of two operational wind farms, one approved wind farm and a solar farm.
The environmental impact statement acknowledged there could be wind turbines within two kilometres of properties not part of the farm.
It also stated there were 43 threatened fauna species, including the glossy black cockatoo and the spotted-tail quoll, however the turbines, substations and other ancillary buildings would be built on cleared paddocks.
The company will carry out targeted ecological surveys to determine where each wind turbine will sit.
Public submissions on the proposed wind farm close in February. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/act-news/second-time-lucky-jupiter-wind-farm-application-lodged-again-20161130-gt1f9j.html
Kalbarri to host what could be Australia’s largest renewable energy grid http://www.watoday.com.au/wa-news/kalbarri-to-host-what-could-be-australias-largest-renewable-energy-grid-20161128-gsz4n5.html A $10 million renewable energy-powered microgrid which has the potential to be the largest in the country will be developed in Western Australia’s Midwest.
The coastal town of Kalbarri is currently supplied by a 140 kilometre long rural feeder line, which experiences outages due to environmental factors.
The microgrid will combine wind and solar power with a large-scale battery and Energy Minister Mike Nahan said the project will be closely looked at to see how the technology could benefit other towns in WA.
“This is a game changer for regional communities who rely on power from a long feeder line, which is subject to environmental factors that can cause outages,” Dr Nahan said.
“The project, which has the potential to be Australia’s biggest renewable microgrid, will consider all generation options and take into account the community’s desire for a renewable solution.””
Western Power will seek expressions of interest from next month with construction expected to begin in 2017.
SA blackout: Wind farm industry ‘hung out to dry’ by energy market operator AEMO RN By David Lewis for Background Briefing , 4 Nov 16, The organisation that manages the national electricity market has been accused of leaving wind farms “hung out to dry” after the recent statewide blackout in South Australia.
The Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) is still investigating the cause of the blackout, which plunged 1.7 million people into darkness on Wednesday, September 28.
The catastrophic power outage sparked furious disagreement about whether the state’s heavy reliance on wind farms contributed to the event.
Giles Parkinson, a veteran journalist and founder of the website RenewEconomy, believes AEMO has added fuel to the fire in a deliberate attempt to deflect attention away from its own role.
“I think people are quite confused about what the market operator seems to be doing and I think some people think it’s more interested in protecting its own reputation at this stage than getting to the bottom of it,” he said.
“It’s basically left the wind industry hung out to dry, leaving enough inference in there for people who do not favour wind to find it guilty and write and declare all sorts of things about the wind industry and the weakness of wind energy.”……..
AEMO made ‘foolhardy’ decisions
Mr Parkinson said he believed the emotionally charged wind-versus-coal debate is distracting from the mistakes AEMO made when preparing for the storm.
He pointed out that when assessing the severity of the approaching weather system, AEMO decided against declaring a “credible contingency”.
“In other words, (AEMO) saw no risk to the transmission or the generation assets despite the fact this storm was approaching and it was packing wind speeds well beyond the stated limits of many of the wind farms that were operating at the time.”
Had AEMO declared a “credible contingency”, it could have intervened in the market by reducing the amount of electricity being produced by generators, including the interconnector to Victoria.
“It was basically running the interconnector not at full throttle but pretty close to full throttle,” Mr Parkinson said……..
David Leitch, the principal at electricity consultancy firm ITK, said he agreed.
“The Heywood interconnector could have been derated an hour earlier so that when the wind generation went off, the Heywood interconnector could have picked up more electricity from Victoria and put it in and that probably would have helped a lot,” he told Background Briefing…….
AEMO unaware of safety settings
AEMO has also been criticised for not having enough information about the safety settings on wind turbines across the state.
In its second report into the blackout, the market operator admits it had no idea how many system faults individual wind farms could ride through before shutting down.
Kobad Bhavnagri, the head of Bloomberg New Energy Finance in Australia, described this gap in knowledge as one of the “big issues” with AEMO’s handling of the disaster.
“Now the question is did AEMO have a duty to know about those settings? If not, why not?” he said……..http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-11-04/wind-farms-hung-out-to-dry-by-energy-market-operator-aemo/7992768
UK company RES, which has built 5000 turbines worldwide, is building its latest wind farm on 17 Murra Warra farmers’ land, including Victorian Farmers Federation president David Jochinke’s property.
Mr Jochinke, who will have six turbines built on his property, said it was a great to have all landholders working together on the project.
RES Murra Warra project manager Kevin Garthwaite said the company had chosen Murra Warra on the flat Wimmera plain because it was on a major transmission line, had “good” wind and was capable of generating more than 400 megawatts of electricity, enough to supply about 220,000 homes.
He said the project would employ 250-300 people during construction, with ongoing employment for 10-15 workers once completed.
“We’ve been really pleased with the level of community support,” Mr Garthwaite said. “If it goes through (the planning process) without a hitch we’d hope to start construction towards the end of 2017.”……..http://www.weeklytimesnow.com.au/news/national/wind-farm-developments-crank-up-across-victoria/news-story/d6f4464f23be9c83c0d83a98e9223498