As of June 2019 I will no longer attempt to keep information about
Using this page: some hintsThis and most other pages of 'Wind in the Bush' are set out like reference books. There is a contents list at the top of each page and at least one index at the bottom of the page. Use these to find the subject you want, or use CTRL F to find words or phrases that interest you. You can also Search all of Commentry. All the main pages of 'Wind in the Bush' are listed at the top left of the Wind Home page and each of the states' pages.
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Contact: David K. Clarke – ©
Before 2003 there was only one large wind turbine in South Australia: a 150kW unit at Coober Pedy. By October 2011 there was over 1200MW of operational wind farm capacity in South Australia and the state had about as high an installed capacity of wind power per capita as any nation in the world (see Installed wind power per capita and How does Australia compare?). By the end of 2017 SA had 1791 MW of wind power, more than any other state; Victoria was getting close in megawatts, but as it has a far higher electricity consumption the proportion of wind power in Victoria was far behind SA.
|South Australia's generation record (added to this page 2019/01/17)|
SA ahead of the pack – and reaching saturation?SA is well ahead of the other eastern states on wind power as of mid 2018, on average around a half of the state's electricity is generated by its wind farms, with another 5% or so coming from solar photovoltaic (mostly rooftop).
The point has been reached where it is not unusual that more power is being generated in SA than is being consumed in the state; the excess has to be exported to the eastern states, but there are times when the capacity of the power interconnectors is insufficient to handle the necessary load. The amount of wind power being generated in SA has reached 120% of consumption, it came close to this on 2014/06/27 and since that time the 315 MW Horndale Wind Farm has been added (and as of May 2018 the 220 MW Lincoln Gap and 119 MW Willogoleche wind farms are being built).
In an article in Renew Economy on 2019/02/19 Giles Parkinson reported that AEMO had capped wind generation in SA at 1200 MW but that this was later increased to 1295 MW and in December 2018 further increased to 1460 MW. I believe that this cap would be quite separate from the limits imposed by the generation/consumption limitations at any particular time.
AEMO's Quarterly Energy Dynamics report for the forth quarter of 2018 stated that:
"Curtailments of non-synchronous (wind) generation in South Australia amounted to 4% of available generation for the quarter, down from 10% in Q3 2018."
It would seem that the curtailment of wind power in SA is making the eastern states more attractive places to build new wind farms than South Australia, at least until a new power interconnector is built or substantial energy storage or other uses for electricity (eg. production of hydrogen) are added.
Coal is on the way outThere are many reasons to believe that coal power is nearing extinction. The industry is in decline, it has no future, and is a bad investment.
This section does not include Lincoln Gap (220 MW) and Willogoleche (119 MW), both of which were under construction at the time
By mid 2014, with the completion of Snowtown Stage 2, South Australia had about 880W of installed wind power per person (Denmark, the nation with the most wind power per person, had about 860W).
Interestingly, in 2017 Denmark and South Australia were still very comparable, with an article by David Leitch in RenewEconomy, dated 2017/03/03, giving both Denmark's and SA's share of wind plus solar power as 42% of the total generation.
Actual productivity as a percentage of installed capacity (Capacity factor) is about 34% for wind power and 18% for solar power in Australia.
Limit to growthHow much more growth there can be in wind power in SA is questionable with the present power transmission network in need of substantial upgrading.
The graph at the right shows average generation data extracted from AEMO records for SA wind farms. Generation data for all Australian farms handled by the AEMO can be seen on my Wind Power Australia page and an explanation of how the data were obtained is given there.
A wind turbine rarely generates at 100% of its installed capacity. The percentage of the installed capacity that is actually achieved is called the capacity factor. The installed capacities of South Australia's wind farms is given above.
Unfortuneatly, when electricity is most needed, at peak power consumption, winds and wind generation both tend to be less than average. The AEMO (SA Supply and Demand Outlook, 2011) estimated that at time of summer peak power demand wind will only provide 5%, and at winter peak, 3.5%, respectively, of installed capacity. However, the 2013 Australian Energy Market Operator's (AEMO) report titled South Australian Electricity Report stated that:
"Based on historical analysis, AEMO estimates that at times of maximum summer demand, rooftop PV may contribute 40% of the total installed capacity, which, for example, compares to 33% in New South Wales and 34% in Queensland."Solar and wind power, both renewables, are highly complimentary. report titled South Australian Electricity Report stated that in 2015/16 wind farms generated 32% of SA's electricity; a further 7% was generated by PV solar. This is a total of 39% of SA's electricity being generated by renewables.
With wind power getting ahead of coal it's no wonder that the Liberals are concerned about the falling profitability of the fossil fuel industry.
This figure might well be higher than expected – I believe that September was unusually windy.
38% average renewable electricity with Snowtown 2 plus solar PVSA's installed wind power increased by a further 22% with the completion of Snowtown Stage 2, so we could see 50% of SA's power being generated by wind and solar for lengthy periods. The 22% increase means that wind power went from an average of 27% to around 33%, and adding an approximate 5% for solar PV will give a total of 38% by early 2015.
52% of SA's electricity from wind in July 2017Renew Economy reported on 2017/08/31 that in South Australia "generation exceeded 52 per cent of total electricity supplied in the state through the NEM, i.e. excluding rooftop solar." When solar generation was added the total renewable energy share rose to 59%.
Wind power is providing an increasing proportion of SA's electricity
The 270MW Snowtown Wind Farm, Stage 2 came on-line in mid 2014, substantially increasing the proportion of SA's power generated by the wind – up to about 33%.
South Australia is of course connected to the SE Australian power grid which supplies large parts of NSW, Queensland, Tasmania and Victoria with electricity. SA imported less power, and exported more power, to the other states over this period (see the graph below).
The increase in wind power generation has played a big part in making the closing down of the old and polluting, coal burning, Thomas Playford Power Station at Port Augusta possible. SA's other coal-burning power station, the Northern Power Station, also at Port Augusta, was closed on 2016/05/09.
The orange columns are coal-fired power; yellow, gas-fired; blue, wind;
and black is power imported from the eastern states by the interconnectors.
The AEMO document stated
"Historically, South Australia imported electricity from Victoria, however
from 2006-07 a combination of factors including more expensive interstate
supply, dryer/drought conditions affecting interstate hydro generation
supplies, and an increase in wind farm construction in South Australia led
to changes in the South Australian supply mix.
South Australia now imports and exports energy."
Greenhouse gas emissions due
to SA's electricity consumption are decreasing
The AEMO 2013 SA Historic Market Information report stated that for the 2012/13 year "Total greenhouse gas emissions are down from 2011/12 by 7%". It also stated "Emissions associated with South Australian electricity have been gradually declining over the past few years, due to increased wind generation and reduced generation from coal. Continuing recent trends, in 2012-13 low electricity demand in the state has also contributed to the reduction in emissions."
The AEMO SA Supply and Demand Outlook, 2011 stated that "The maximum demand for the year was 3 433 MW, and occurred 4:30 PM (Australian Eastern Standard Time) Monday 31 January 2011 (at a temperature of 42.9°C)." and "Wind contributed only 60 MW during the summer 2011 maximum demand... However, at times during the week either side of the maximum demand, that output reached 873 MW."
Wind farm generation at times of peak demand tends to be low. Peak demand relies heavily on gas-fired generators.
Summer peak demand days generally coincides with high generation from
power systems, as skies are usually clear at the time.
the actual peak usually comes late in the day – when people are
coming home from work, turning air conditioners on and preparing dinner
– it coincides with declining solar PV generation.
The journal Windpower Monthly (July 2003) stated that the average electricity load in SA is 1500 MW.
Minimum overnight demand is about 1000 MW (pers. com. Lewis W. Owens, then Chairman of Essential Services Commission of SA).
The proportion of wind-generated electricity in South Australia went from virtually zero in early 2003 to 32% in 2015/16 and increased subtantially again when Snowtown Stage 2 was finished (up to around 33%). This has been a remarkable achievement in just eleven years, and shows what can be done, even in a national environment that is not particularly favourable to renewable energy (there is a very strong and influential fossil fuel lobby).
Unfortunately by March 2011 there was a downturn in wind farm construction. At that time there was only one small wind farm (Bluff Range, 25 turbines) under construction in SA.
No more wind farms were built until Snowtown Stage 2 was commenced in August of 2012 and completed in July 2014. Hornsdale Stage 1 was commenced in January 2016 and completed in November of the same year.
The years shown in the table on the right are the years in which the wind farms were completed.
Over the past decade worldwide wind energy generation capacity has been
increasing by around 25% per year while wind energy prices have been falling
by 4% per year.
If the SA government was serious about maximising SA's sustainable power it could spend taxpayer's money much more productively than on tiny 'showcase' projects, for example by upgrading power transmission lines.
Climate change is happening and must be minimised; Australia and the world must move away from fossil fuels. I don't think that any reasonable and informed person can doubt this any more. Unfortunately Australian governments are not giving climate change the high priority that it needs.
Certainly wind power is not 'the answer' to climate change. Only a naive person would believe that there is a single answer, and only a naive person would object to wind power because it is not 'the answer'. It is a part of 'the answer'. Other parts are energy conservation, technological innovation, development of other forms of sustainable energy, and education. (I have listed some suggestions in What should be done.)
One of the greatest problems for future development of wind power in South Australia is the lack of transmission lines in many of the areas with good wind resources. No further development is possible on the Eyre and Yorke Peninsulas for lack of transmission capacity, and the huge potential resource on Kangaroo Island cannot be developed for the same reason.
I would hope and expect that national parks and conservation parks would be kept free of wind farm developments.
Will we get sick of the sight of wind turbines? Quite possibly. The alternatives, it seems to me, are either to throw caution (and sanity) to the wind and continue with fossil fuels, or to totally change our life-styles and enormously cut down on the amount of energy that we use, in our personal lives and in industry. I cannot imagine our society being ready or willing to do the latter and I hope we will not be so stupidly short-sighted as to do the former.
Wind farms in SA
Allendale (south east SA)
Barn Hill (Red Hill)
Bluff Range (Hallett #5)
Brown Hill Range (Hallett #1)
Carmodys Hill (Georgetown)
Cathedral Rocks (Port Lincoln)
Ceres Project (Yorke Pen.)
Clements Gap (Crystal Brook)
Coober Pedy (far north)
Eyre Peninsula wind project
Goyder Renewables (Burra)
Green Point (South East)
Hallett Hill (Hallett #2)
Hallett wind farms
Keyneton (Lower North)
Lake Bonney (Millicent)
Lake Bonney Stage 1 (Millicent)
Lake Bonney Stage 2 (Millicent)
Lake Bonney Stage 3 (Millicent)
Lincoln Gap/Port Augusta
Mount Bryan (Hallett #3)
Mount Millar (Cowell/Cleve)
North Brown Hill (Hallett #4)
Palmer (Eastern Mt Lofty Ranges)
Port Augusta (Flinders R.)
Snowtown, Stage 2
Starfish Hill (Fleurieu Pen.)
Stony Gap (Clare)
Troubridge Point (Yorke Pen.)
Twin Creek (Kapunda)
Vincent North (Yorke Pen.)
Wattle Point (Edithburgh)
Woakwine Range (Millicent)
Worlds End (Burra)
Note: Latitudes and Longitudes are given below in decimal degrees. They are given to two decimal places because this defines the location to ±1 km; a wind farm is a large thing and typically covers a number of kilometres.
Note that the wind farms listed here as proposed or approved will not necessarily ever be built. You can't be sure that anything is going to be built until it starts happening.
Australia ranks 53rd in the world in population, but sixth in the world in the CO2 produced by its electricity industry. Australia has 0.3% of the world's population, but produces 1.5% of the world's CO2. We Australian's have an ethical responsibility to lift our game. Changing from fossil-fuel generated electricity to sustainably generated electricity is one way we can do that.
In early 2003 SA had negligible sustainably generated electricity, just ten years later, in the 2015/16 financial year, 32% of our electricit was generated from the wind. That is remarkable progress.
In 2011 both Denmark, the world's leading nation, and SA had around 700 Watts of installed wind power per person.
It is also progress that is in danger of ending if the Liberals have their way. Local Liberal parliamentarians such as Senator Sean Edwards and Rowan Ramsey oppose wind power. (More on those who unethically oppose wind power.)
We in the Mid-North are leading the world in the fight against climate change! It should be a huge positive, but few people seem to see it as such – or if they do, they don't talk about it. Perhaps it's because people feel that they have no part in the wind power developments, they are just bystanders – and that is true if they choose to make it true. (See Why support wind power.)
This section can be used as an alternative to the Wind farm by region section.
far north, not to scale|
Coober Pedy, Leigh Creek, Marla, Woomera
The status of the wind farms below is correct, so far as I know, in July 2017.
Lat 33, Long 138 – Clare
Also known as Allendale East Wind Farm
The District Council of Grant granted approval to Acciona's Development Application in March 2010; however this was appealed; see 'Court case', below.
It is proposed that the wind farm be about two kilometres east of Allendale East and about 18 km south of Mount Gambier. Port Macdonnell is about seven kilometres SW of the farm.
Acciona arranged a visit about September 2010 to the Waubra Wind Farm for the local people who are expecting to become a part of the Allendale project. As well as a guided tour of the wind farm the Allendale people had a chance to chat to farmers involved in the Waubra Wind Farm.
Court caseA dairy farmer, Richard Paltridge, has brought a case against this wind farm in the Environment Resources and Development (ERD) Court. Adelaide Now (2011/01/29) stated that Mr Paltridge "has concerns relating to the humming noise of the turbines and its possible long-term health impact, the flashing lights on turbine towers and obstruction of views".
Richard Paltridge's appeal was upheld and Justice Costello, while rejecting evidence pertaining to health problems, upheld the appeal on the basis of visual amenity. (Reported in The Courier 2011/06/24.) It seems that this is the first time an appeal against a wind farm has been upheld on visual amenity grounds.
On 2011/07/11 ABC on-line news carried an article stating that Acciona is appealing against the ERD Court's ruling.
AGL gave contacts for inquiries as:
Barn Hill is a prominent hill about 8 km SW of Red Hill, about 6 km east of Mundoora and 160 km NNW of Adelaide. It is conspicuous from the plains around Port Broughton, and is named The Bluff on some maps.
Stanwell Corporation, sold their interest in Barn Hill to Transfield Services Infrastructure in December 2007 and on 2009/06/18 AGL Energy Limited announced that it had acquired the rights to Barn Hill Wind Farm.
Transfield held public meetings at Redhill and Mundoora to discuss development of the wind farm in June 2008; they submitted a Development Application to the Port Pirie and Wakefield councils in September 2008 and this was approved in late January 2009.
The Barn Hill Wind Farm, if it is built rather than simply being sold from one potential developer to another, will fill the space along the Barunga Range between Clements Gap and Snowtown Wind Farms. (That is, from the Hope Gap Road in the south to the Torrs Gap Road in the north.)
The first two turbines were switched on in early November 2004. The wind farm consists of 23 turbines each of 2 MW. AGL has signed a deal to purchase all the power generated at this wind farm.
This wind farm was formerly called Lake Bonney Central Wind Farm.
Generation record for CanundaThe graph on the right shows the power generation record for Canunda Wind Farm as recorded by AEMO (Australian Energy Market Operator) and downloaded via the ALG (Australian Landscape Guardians) Net site. The units are average megawatts generated month by month.
In 2009 Canunda wind farm generated 119 GWh of renewable electricity and fed it into the National Grid.
Update: February 2020An advertisement was placed in the Flinders News on 2020/02/12 announcing a community information session at the Georgetown Memorial Hall, Pitts Street, Georgetown on Wednesday 19th February. It seems that a company, Georgetown Hills Renewable Energy Pty Ltd, has been formed to revive the project. 'Up to' 45 wind turbines are proposed together with 'an energy storage system'.
At the information session I read that the total power of the wind farm was 'up to 270 MW', so the turbines would be up to 6 MW each.
I was informed that Siemens had some connection to the proposal.
$200,000 per year has been promised for community development if the project goes ahead, a very generous amount.
Cathedral Rocks Wind Farm is south of Port Lincoln in southern Eyre Peninsula. Port Lincoln is 250 km west of Adelaide as the crow flies, but considerably more by road.
It's ownership, like that of many wind farms, has changed. It was once jointly owned by some combination of TRUenergy, Acciona and EHN (Oceania) Pty. Ltd.; more recently Palisade has bought a share.
The annual production and capacity factor figures above are calculated from AEMO data for March 2009 to December 2012 data (inclusive) downloaded via the Australian Landscape Guardians '.csv' format download facility.
Not all of the turbines were running on 4th and 5th February 2006 in spite of there seeming to be ample wind.
Fire 2009/02/03There was a fire in one of the Cathedral Rocks turbines. ABC On-line news reported that the fire was seen from a nearby boat at 1am (third Feb.) Damages have been estimated at $6 million. The fire was confined to the turbine and spots in a small surrounding area of scrub.
Failure of main shaft, about July 2014I have been informed that there was a failure of a main shaft in one turbine (from the hub to the gearbox) that resulted eventually in the turbine being taken out of service. This wind farm seems to have had a more exciting than average life.
An exercise on smoothing the generationI have used Cathedral Rocks WF as an example of the possible use of hydropower (seawater pumped to cliff-tops when there was plenty of wind and down again through a hydropower station when the wind stopped blowing) on my Sustainable Energy page.
Generation record for Cathedral RocksThe graph on the right shows the power generation record for Cathedral Rocks Wind Farm as recorded by AEMO (Australian Energy Market Operator) and downloaded via the ALG (Australian Landscape Guardians) Net site. The units are average megawatts generated month by month.
Based on the variation to approval applied for in early 2019
While the turbines were imported, the towers were manufactured in Adelaide. Pacific Hydro has a Net page on the project, the full URL is "http://www.pacifichydro.com.au/en-us/our-projects/australia-/ clements-gap-wind-farm.aspx" (note that there should be no spaces in the URL).
Air seems insubstantial, but this can be misleading. It is interesting to note that at full production ten million tonnes of air will pass through the 27 turbines of Clements Gap Wind Farm each hour.
Estimated payback time for the "embodied energy" of the whole wind farm is approximately five months.
Most of the information for this section came from Pacific Hydro and Suzlon; in particular Terry Teoh of the former and Megan Wheatley of the latter.
I did a very short investigation on 2010/07/19. The closest occupied houses to the turbines of this wind farm seemed to be at least one kilometre away.
Infrasound testingThe South Australian Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) produced a report titled "Infrasound levels near windfarms and in other environments" in January 2013. Clements Gap was one of the wind farms that was used in the study.
The Nordex turbine (photo on the right) was the first wind turbine of more than a few kilowatts capacity to be built in South Australia. So far as I know it was still operating in 2016.
In March 2015 Energy Developments announced that they expected to start construction of a combined solar (2 MW), wind (4 MW), battery (1MW/250kWh) and diesel hybrid power system in November 2015, subject to key component availability. Design work started in July 2014. Initial funding had been provided by ARENA.
By August 2016 financial closure had been achieved and the project had been modified to 4MW wind, 1MW solar PV, 1MW/250kWh battery with diesel back-up. It was expected that the system would provide Coober Pedy with 70% renewable energy over the 20 year life of the project.
Senvion, the makers of the turbines, have a net page on the project.
A private email from a friend and resident of Coober Pedy informed me on
2017/02/07 that the two turbines had been "installed, and will be fully
operational when the rest of the project comes on line later this year".
(As of February 2020 Senvion's web page stated that the turbines were operational on 2017/06/26.)
Previously known as Collaby Hill Wind Farm and
The energy park received development approval from the South Australian government in early August 2019.
The proposal as of mid 2018
In the map on the right the Port Pirie-Laura road runs from the upper left corner via Hughs Gap to above centre on the right side. The proposed turbine locations as on mid 2018 are shown as blue-green triangles. Hughs gap is on the upper section of where the wind turbines are to be built. I have written more about the location on another page on this site.
The hydrogen electrolyser is intended to be about 50MW and would potentially produce 25,000 kilograms of hydrogen each day. See other pages on this site for more on hydrogen as a power source and power to gas (P2G) developments in Australia.
I believe that the closest wind turbine will be about 5km from my house in Crystal Brook and the least distance between a turbine and a house not financially involved in the wind farm will be 1.5km; 500m greater than that required by the state government.
Neoen have promised $80,000 annually for community projects.
Opposition group; 2017/06/17A vocal opposition group has developed, giving the usual misleading arguments against wind power. They have blocked me from posting and commenting on their Facebook page. I have written a net page on my reasons for supporting the project.
PollsA poll conducted by local newspaper the Flinders News on 2018/03/07 showed 83% of respondents were in favour of the Crystal Brook Wind Farm.
Another poll was included in a very biased and negative article in the Flinders News following government approval of the energy park. By 2019/08/10 this poll was showing 74% approval.
Neoen's response to verbal submissionsDevelopment Application Response to Verbal Submissions; 2018/12/10.
The first wind farm in the hills north of Crystal brook was proposed by Wind Farm Developments around 2005, who called it Collaby Hill Wind Farm and who never took the project beyond the feasibility stage. Origin took the project over from WFD, but announced on 2012/04/04 that they had decided to not proceed with the project. They gave no specific reason for the decision.
The proximity of the proposed wind farm to the Heysen Trail will provided an opportunity for people to experience, first hand, the sounds and sites of wind turbines close at hand. There are few places in South Australia where the public can walk (or drive) close to a number of operating wind turbines (another will be Mount Bryan Wind Farm, in the Hallett area, if it ever gets built). This would help educate the public, showing many people that wind turbines are not noisy and do not present a health hazard.
Most of the land in this area has been cleared and grazed or cropped for many decades, but there are scattered patches of native scrub. It seems an excellent site for a wind farm; perhaps some other business will take up the oportunity some time in the future.
Wind Farm Developments erected a 50m mast with anemometers about 2005 and later stated that they confirmed the project as viable. This tower was removed and Origin later built four more towers to obtain information on the variation of the wind resource around the area. By August 2010 Origin had eight months of data from their new anemometers and this, combined with the Wind Farm Developments data, convinced them that the resource was of sufficient quality for a viable wind farm.
As a resident of Crystal Brook I look forward to the construction of the wind farm with great anticipation. The closest turbines will be around 5 km from my house.
It was the original proposal that got Dr Sarah Laurie started in her ill advised campaign on the imaginary link between wind turbines and ill-health. That was one of the causes for me to write my wind farms and health page.
There has been some local opposition to both proposals. I find it disappointing that people can place there own selfish short-term iterests before the urgent need to act on climate change and before the welfare of their own grandchildren; especially when, at most, the only 'harm' they will suffer is having to see the turbines and hearing them from time to time.
A $4.5b project has been discussed by Tim O'Loughlin, representatives of Macquarie Capital, and SA Premier Mike Rann.
The project involves a 'Green Grid' (set of high capacity electricity transmission lines) for Eyre Peninsula and an interstate connector that would be built from Port Augusta via south-east SA to Heywood in Victoria. (This would also permit better use of the existing wind farms in the SE and development of more resources there.)
The existing power transmission lines on Eyre Peninsula (as shown on the map) are only 66kV and have no reserve capacity. It has been proposed that a high capacity transmission line be constructed to enable the development of four areas in particular:
Average wind speeds in these areas are anticipated to be greater than eight metres per second, a capacity factor of greater than 38% is expected to be achievable and 10 GW (10 000 MW) of wind power capacity could be installed (3000 to 5000 turbines of the size being built in 2010).
Similar power lines have been built at government expense for coal-fired power stations and mines in the past, but never for renewable energy in Australia. Power lines specifically for development of wind resources have been built in Texas.
The Leigh Creek coal reserves that supply the power stations at Port Augusta are expected to run out around 2017. The new wind power and interstate connector will go a long way to fill the gap in the national power supply when the Port Augusta power stations close down. (Also see Capacities of conventional power stations.)
The Port Augusta Transcontinental on-line news carried and article on the
proposal dated 2010/09/01.
REVE announced that Spanish company "Acciona has lodged plans to develop a 144 MW wind power plant with Australia's government". It is proposed to be about 15 km north of Naracoorte in southeast SA.
The REVE article went on to state that the development application could be
submitted as early as the end of 2012.
h Neoen has a Net site about their Goyder Renewables Zone project. (As of February 2022)
In my limited understanding it is to be built in about five stages. Neoen built the nearby Hornsdale Wind Farm in three stages and found that the system worked well. First will be the Goyder South section, south of Burra, in three stages, the Goyder North section, north of Burra, will be built later.
Neoen estimate that the project will inject $10 million into the region annually, and there will be a community fund building, stage by stage, to $1 million a year.
Neoen believe that the first stage is viable at present, but that later stages will only be viable if the proposed high-capacity power interconnector with NSW is built. The interconnector, called Project Energy Connect, with an estimated cost of $1.5 billion, seems almost certain to happen, with construction likely to start by mid 2021 and end in 2022.
I'm told that a hydrogen electrolyser is unlikely because the project is quite a way from the coast and export of hydrogen would be necessary for economic viability. (Who knows what might develop in time, a pipeline to the coast?)
I believe that Neoen hope to place a request for planning approval by the end of 2019.
Neoen had started combining sheep grazing with "all five of their solar farms in NSW and Victoria" by 2019. They were also "leading a collaboration with the Clean Energy Council to bring together research, case studies and lessons from across the industry into a ground-breaking Agrisolar Report".
I've written more on integrating solar power with other functions on another page on this site.
Wind Prospect have planning approval from the District Council of Grant for this wind farm on the coast of south-eastern South Australia between Port Macdonnell and Victorian border.
There seems little other information available. Wind Prospect had a page on Green Point, but have removed it.
In late February 2009 54 Suzlon turbines became available to AGL (for use at Hallett). It seems that these were from a third party who had cancelled an order with Suzlon. Green Point seems to be the only Australian wind farm in the pipeline with 54 turbines planned. Of course this may be no more than coincidence, the cancelled order might not even have been Australian.
Not only is the Hallett group the biggest in installed capacity, it is by far the most productive wind farm in Australia, generating an average of about 134 MW. This is almost twice as much power as Waubra (in second place) which is averaging about 71 MW and Lake Bonney at 70 MW. Unfortunately generation data are not made public from WA wind farms so I can say nothing about where Collgar stands.
I have been informed that RPG Australia made the tower sections for the Hallett wind farms in Adelaide.
A confusing feature of the Hallett area is that:
Not only are there many high capacity turbines at Hallett, but they are very productive; up to September 2010 both Brown Hill Range and Hallett Hill had achieved capacity factors of 39 to 40%, resulting in the Hallett wind farms generating more power than any other in Australia. 40% is exceptionally high for any wind farm and it is at least partly due to the very high quality of the wind resource in the area.
I believe that the closest occupied houses to the Hallett turbines are generally about one kilometre from the turbines.
The Hallett wind farms are a group of six, five of which were originally proposed by Wind Prospect; all are in the area around Hallett and Mount Bryan, north of Burra. The sixth, North Brown Hill Wind Farm, was added later. They are all around 170 km north of Adelaide. The originally proposed five developments aimed to have an output capacity of about 320 MW produced by 160 two-megawatt turbines.
Bluff Range Wind Farm
|Status||No. of Turbines||Manufacturer||Model||MW each||Total MW||Cap. Fac.||Completion||Lat||Long|
|Operating||25||Suzlon||S88||2.1||52.5||35%||Late 2011||S 33.37°||E 138.80°|
The early part of the construction of this wind farm started around mid August 2010. It has 24 Suzlon S-88 V3 2.1 MW turbines (and a prototype S-97 – more below). (The S-88 is an abbreviation: the S is for Suzlon, the 88 indicates an 88m diameter.) A spokesman for AGL said that the project will create more than 120 jobs during the construction phase.
Suzlon released a newsletter 2011/06/22. The last of the S88 turbines was almost in position and the overhead lines were competed. It was expected that the wind farm would be handed over to AGL some time in December. Cleanup and remediation, including grading disturbed areas, reseeding, and final drainage modifications were underway.
A prototype S-97 turbine has been included in the project. Tim Knill – AGL, Manager Power Development – informed me (2011/06/31) that it was expected that the S-97 "will produce about 15% more energy due to [its] larger rotor".
One of two types of concrete bases or turbine footings are commonly used for wind turbines. Gravity footings rely on a large and heavy mass of concrete to hold the turbine in place, while, if suitable bedrock is present a smaller mass of concrete can be bolted to the bedrock using rock anchors. Rock anchors were used on this project.
AGL have set up 2 web cams on site and hope to make the images available to the public. I saw on the webcam that the first turbine was completed by 2011/04/30 (photo on right).
|Max. blade tip height||124m|
|Length of on-site access tracks||About 9 km|
|Greenhouse gas (CO2) abatement||161 000t per year expected|
|The following came to light when AGL sold the wind farm in May 2011|
|Total project cost||$129m|
|Employment||Up to 100 during construction, 4 during operation|
|Expected output||Approximately 159 GWh p.a.|
|Average wind speed||7.9m/s|
|Effective Electricity + LGC off-take price||July 2012 –
June 2014: $93/MWh|
July 2014: $110/MWh
|Development fees||$30 million in FY2012|
|Status||No. of turbines||Manufacturer||Model||MW each||Total MW||Commissioned||Capacity factor||Lat||Long|
|Operating||45||Suzlon||S88||2.1||94.5||June 13th 2008||40%||S 33.36°||E 138.71°|
This wind farm is about 15 km East of Hallett (map) and consists of 45 turbines each of 2.1 MW, it was officially commissioned on June 13th 2008, although was largely operational several months earlier. I believe that it is owned by a superannuation company and its power is being bought by AGL.
A company named Wind Prospect first proposed the farm and did initial work on assessing the wind resource and planning a possible layout.
|Cost of development||$5.4m|
|Cost of construction||$227.5m|
|Cost of first 2 years operations||$10.5m|
The turbines are Suzlon S-88 2.1 MW machines and the farm was constructed by Suzlon. The Suzlon parent company is based in Pune, India.
For directions to Brown Hill Range go to ExplorOz.
Brendan Ryan (of Suzlon) informed me that they used Brett Lane and Associates of Melbourne for bird and bat monitoring. Lane et al apparently wrote the wind industry's 'best practice' recommendations for bird and bat monitoring.
I must express my thanks to Peter Reed and Brendan Ryan of Suzlon for their help in keeping me informed and showing me around this wind farm.
|Some of the Hallett Hill turbines with one of the few remnant sheoak (Allocasuarina stricta) trees in the foreground|
|Status||No. of turbines||Manufacturer||Model||MW each||Total MW||Capacity factor||Completed||Lat||Long||Cost|
|Operating||34||Suzlon||S88||2.1||71.4||41%||Late 2009||S 33.55°||E 138.86°||$166m|
The capacity factor above was calculated from AEMO data (July 2009 to December 2012 inclusive) and is among the best I have calculated for Australian wind farms.
Hallett Hill Wind Farm is about 15 km South of Hallett and a very few kilometres west of the township of Mount Bryan. It is the only farm of the Hallett group owned by ANZ (through fully-owned subsidiaries Energy Infrastructure Trust and Infrastructure Capital Group Ltd).
ABC on-line news, 2008/08/29, reported that:
"Energy company AGL has sold its wind farm near Burra in the mid-north of South Australia in a deal it says is worth $59 million. Energy Infrastructure Trust will own the Hallett Hill Wind Farm and fund the rest of the project's construction. But AGL will operate and maintain the wind farm and buy all the electricity produced."
The wind farm was constructed by Suzlon using Suzlon S-88 V3 turbines. I believe the tube sections of the towers were manufactured in Adelaide.
"AGL Energy (AGL), operator of the Hallett Hill wind farm (Hallett 2) in mid-north South Australia near the township of Mt Bryan, has taken a range of steps to deal with a noise complaint at Hallett 2. During commissioning of Hallett 2, which consists of 34 x 2.1 MW wind turbines, extensive noise testing and monitoring was carried out by specialist noise consultants to determine compliance with noise guidelines. When a resident neighbouring the wind farm raised concerns about noise, AGL engaged a specialist noise consultant to assess noise conditions at the residence. During the second round of noise testing at the residence, preliminary results showed that some audible tones were detected under certain conditions. Upon becoming aware of the tonality issue in December 2010, AGL promptly shut down a number of wind turbines in proximity to the residence. Sixteen (16) of the 34 turbines are currently shut down at night. AGL has been working with the turbine supplier to rectify the defect and co-ordinate testing with the neighbouring resident. The supplier has developed a permanent acoustic treatment to address the tonality issue."On 2012/01/05 I received the following from Adam Mackett, AGL's man in charge of Hallett Hill Wind Farm:
"The sixteen wind turbines were shutdown in late October and progressively returned to full operation after the permanent acoustic treatment was installed at each turbine."
This project has had a quite complex history in several law courts. AGL has announced (August 2012) that wind turbine technology has significantly changed since the earlier Development Application to the point where they need to cease legal activity on the old DA and submit a new one.
There has been some concern over a remnant stand of Eucalyptus trees (Eucalyptus globulus bicostata) in this area (April 2008). It seems that this particular stand of trees could be up to 4000 years old. Sandra Kanck (then South Australian Democrat MLC) said that the stand of trees is only 20m from one of the proposed turbines. (I believe the site of this turbine has been moved because of these trees.) While this stand of E. globulus bicostata may be the only one known in South Australia, the species is common in the Otway Ranges in Victoria.
An email from Tim Knill of AGL Energy (12th March 2010) included the following on ecology: "there are some patches of native grass/shrubs but very few trees on the ridge tops. Any unavoidable clearance of native vegetation will require conservation set-aside areas to be established. We expect that all trees will be protected."
The Heysen Trail passes over Mount Bryan and on to Hallett (through the broader valley in the lower right of the aerial view). I walked this section of the Trail on 30th August 2010. The view on the upper right is fairly typical of the Mount Bryan range. There are more large gums in some of the lower areas, there are more shrubs on some of the hill-sides, there is more conspicuous damage from over-grazing in some areas (lower photo). I am informed by a reliable source (Millie Nicholls) that the shrubs, which are very common in the area, are Melicytus dentata, common name tree violet. These all appeared to be very heavily grazed. (I have other images of the Mount Bryan area if anyone needs them.)
Once built the wind farm will make this section of the Heysen Trail much more popular because it will present an opportunity for people to walk a dedicated walking trail close to, and among, a group of modern wind turbines. I cannot think of any comparable opportunity elsewhere. Providing this first hand experience – seeing and hearing wind turbines at close range – to many people must help educate the public on the facts of wind turbine sound levels and visual impact.
At various points along this section of the Heysen Trail there are views
of the Hallett Hill Wind Farm, some seven kilometres to the SW, and the
more distant Brown Hill Range wind farms to the NW.
|Expected CO2 abatement||256 000 tonnes per year|
|Payback time for embodied energy||About six months|
|Average wind speed at hub height||About 9.0 metres per second|
|Expected capacity factor||43%|
Mount Bryan wind farm is expected to be one of the most productive (in
proportion to its size) in Australia.
|Status||No. of turbines||Manufacturer||Model||MW each||Total MW||Capacity factor||Completion||Lat||Long|
|Operating||63||Suzlon||S88||2.1||132.3||39%||Early 2011||S 33.19°||E 138.75°|
This wind farm is about 23 km from Hallett (map) and immediately north of the Brown Hill Range Wind Farm (Hallett #1). Wind Prospect has quite a detailed Net page about the project and you may find information about the project on AGL's site.
First power into the grid was 2010/08/14. As of 2010/10/20 all turbines have been fully erected, one section has been handed over to AGL and other sections were going through reliability testing and commissioning. Power fed into the national grid was still increasing, but the best so far was more than 70 MW.
North Brown Hill will be one of the the biggest wind farm in SA and in Australia.
Ward Civil won the contract for the footings of North Brown Hill and, I believe, made rock anchor bases that are smaller than previously used in the area. I believe they took around 50 cubic metres of concrete each and are 1.4m deep rather than the 2.3m deep bases Built Environs designed ones for earlier Hallett wind farms.
AGL sold this wind farm to the Energy Infrastructure Investments consortium about October 2009.
There are some more recent photos of some of the North Brown Hill turbines on another page on this site.
|A misty morning at North Brown Hill|
News, 2017/08/06Andrew Turner of ENGIE informed me by email that work is already underway on "hard-stands, roads, supporting infrastructure etc." A press release stated that "Installation of turbines is scheduled to start by the end of the year.
News, 2017/08/05Sophie Vorrath reported on RenewEconomy, 2017/08/04, about the imminent construction of this wind farm following an agreement between ENGIE and GE Australia. In the article Ms Vorrath quoted GE Australia chief Geoff Culbert, "This will be our fourth wind farm to begin construction in 2017" and "It is encouraging to see more projects like this reach financial close, and we look forward to continuing to bring the best renewables technology to Australia."
I could find nothing by GE Australia about the project on the Net, but ENGIE has a page about the project.
Blade tip height is to be 150m, rotor diameter 130m.
|Status||No. of turbines||Turbine capacity||Total MW||Construction started||Completion due||Lat||Long|
|Construction||32||8 units of 3.4MW|
24 units of 3.8MW
|119||July 2017||Early 2019?||S 33.41°||E 138.84°|
A post on ABC on-line news, 2011/07/14, stated that a proposed extension of from 26 turbines to 37 turbines was approved by the Goyder Council. ABC News, 2011/12/08, reported that an appeal against the increased number of turbines by six Mid-North residents had been withdrawn after an out-of-court agreement between them and the developer.
There are power-purchase agreements (PPAs) between Neoen and the ACT government for each of the three stages of the wind farm. The ACT government is aiming to have 90% renewable energy by 2020. The first PPA was signed on or about 2015/02/06 for a price of Aus$92/MWh. The second PPA was signed in December 2015 at Australia's then lowest known contract price of Aus$77/MWh; the third was later signed for an even lower price of Aus$73/MWh.
The electricity generated will go to a sub-station on site, then to the existing 275 kV power transmission line that runs through the area.
There are some more recent photos of some of the Hornsdale turbines on another page on this site.
The formal name of the Big Battery is the Hornsdale Power Reserve. Neoen has a Net page on the HPR that includes a widget giving an up-to-the-minute record of power input and output.
As there seems to be a lot of misinformation about the Big Battery (much of which has been quite intentionally misleading), it is worth stating that it will not store enough energy to supply the state if other electricity supplies fail; it is not designed to do that. As explained in The Conversation by Ariel Liebman and Kaveh Rijab Khalilpour, 2017/07/11, it is designed to support grid stability.
The Conversation has several articles about the Big Battery,
this one is particularly interesting; "A month in, Tesla's SA battery is surpassing expectations".
Neoen contacts for inquiries: Email: email@example.com
Phone: 1800 015 398
Fax: 02 9293 2322
I wish to thank Robert Ongley for keeping me up to date on Hornsdale (and a
number of other projects).
Six landholders have agreed to host the turbines.
The wind farm will not have aviation lighting. Pacific Hydro say that "the site boundary is approximately three kilometres east of Keyneton and that it will connect to the grid via a transmission line that crosses the site.
It is expected that the turbines will be at least 1.5 km from the nearest homes. Pacific Hydro have run at least two public information sessions.
I have independent information that there isn't much remnant vegetation
that will be affected.
"The area has been grazed for 150 years and there isn't much left."
The same source informed me that Pacific Hydro have done "a particularly
good job of consulting the community".
The owner was Babcock and Brown Wind Partners, more recently N.P. Power and Infigen Energy. Obtaining information on these wind farms is particularly difficult.
As of February 2012 the Lake Bonney wind farms, combined, had the second highest installed capacity of any wind farms in Australia (after the Hallett group), however, because of the poor capacity factors achieved, both the Hallett (SA) and Waubra (Vic.) wind farms generate more electricity.
All three stages connect to the transmission grid via the 132kV Mayurra
The capacity factor above was calculated from AEMO data (March 2009 to December 2012 inclusive) and downloaded via the ALG Net site.
In the Australian Electricity Generation Report of 2008, available from Australian Policy Online, this wind farm is listed as the ninth largest renewable energy power station in mainland eastern Australia, and the fourth largest wind farm, by generation for 2008, generating 204 MWh.
Much of the data in this table came from Miles George of Infigen Energy.
Generation record for Lake Bonney Stage 1The graph on the right shows the power generation record for Lake Bonney Stage 1 Wind Farm as recorded by AEMO (Australian Energy Market Operator) and downloaded via the ALG (Australian Landscape Guardians) Net site. The units are average megawatts generated month by month.
This wind farm commenced full commercial operation in September 2008. In the Australian Electricity Generation Report of 2008, available from Australian Policy Online, this wind farm is listed as the third largest renewable energy power station in mainland eastern Australia, and the largest wind farm, by generation for 2008, generating 373 MWh.
Much of the data in this table came from Miles George of Infigen Energy.
Generation record for Lake Bonney Stage 2The graph on the right shows the power generation record for Lake Bonney Stage 2 Wind Farm as recorded by AEMO (Australian Energy Market Operator) and downloaded via the ALG (Australian Landscape Guardians) Net site. The units are average megawatts generated month by month.
While Infigen seem not to have a Net page on this project, Aurecon do.
The turbines are Vestas V90 models, 3 MW each.
Generation record for Lake Bonney Stage 3The graph on the right shows the power generation record for Lake Bonney Stage 3 Wind Farm as recorded by AEMO (Australian Energy Market Operator) and downloaded via the ALG (Australian Landscape Guardians) Net site. The units are average megawatts generated month by month.
The wind farm was first mooted at least as early as September 2009. In mid December 2018 it was announced that construction of the 24 turbines of the second stage would commence soon.
I had an email from Nexif on 2018/10/30. The project manager, Ben Williams, informed me that "because of the delay [see box on the right] we are at an accelerated level of construction activity."
Nexif Energy, the proponent of the wind farm, has a net page about the project.
The coordinates above were based on the location on a OneWind Net page – which seems to no longer be available
Shortly after it being reported that construction would start in early 2010 the South Australian Government announced that it has refused to vary major development approval of the wind farm (Trust Power wanted to build taller towers, 110m high). Subsequently Trust Power stated they would drop the project. This all happened in late August, early September 2009.
In January 2011 SA Planning Minister Paul Holloway said that it is no longer appropriate to grant further extension of the development approval.
This wind farm was previously called Yabmana. It is built along seven kilometres of hill-top roughly between Cowell and Cleve. (It is sign-posted from the Cowell-Cleve road.)
The Eyre Peninsula Tribune, on 14th March 2006, stated that construction of this wind farm started in late 2004 and was completed in December 2005. Power started being generated on February 28th 2006.
This is an interesting and scenic wind farm to
Most of the turbines are quite close to a public road along a ridge top with
good views over Spencer Gulf.
Generation record for Mount MillarThe graph on the right shows the power generation record for Mount Millar Wind Farm as recorded by AEMO (Australian Energy Market Operator) and downloaded via the ALG (Australian Landscape Guardians) Net site. The units are average megawatts generated month by month.
This wind farm, proposed by Tilt Renewables (previously named Trust Power), if built, will extend from south-west of Cambrai 30km southward along the ridge lines of the eastern Mount Lofty Ranges to a point south-west of Palmer. Tilt Renewables has some information on a Net page about their projects and proposals. Trust Power runs the highly successful Snowtown Wind Farm (two stages, total installed capacity 371MW).
It seems there is some level of local opposition. The people of Snowtown, where the first stage wind farm was completed in 2008, seem very happy with their wind farm. It is notable that early wind farms were built in SA with very little opposition and continue to receive local approval, while newly proposed wind farms raise objections. No doubt this is largely due to successful disinformation campaigns by wind power opposition groups and individuals.article on 2013/12/17 in which they reported that Trust Power were proposing to give a direct benefit to neighbours of the wind farm.
"It will comprise of annual payments based on a sliding scale, with a minimum of $2000 per annum, depending on the number of turbines ultimately constructed within 1km of a property boundary or 2km of a residence should the project go ahead."It will be interesting to see what happens here, what effect the proposal might have on the acceptance of the wind farm by neighbours, and whether it will be picked up by other wind farm operators.
It has been suggested that some sort of gift of shares in the project would be preferable to cash payouts as it would give the receiver an interest in the running and profitability of the wind farm.
A part of Port Augusta Renewable Energy Park 2021/12/21
Photo taken using my drone. At this time all 50 wind turbines were apparently completed but not yet operating; the other 46 were to the left of this field of view. It looked like the solar farm was also fully built. But one area was cleared with very little on it; perhaps ready for the battery?
Sundrop Farm can be seen on the far right. (Click on the image to see in high resolution.)
More photos of PAREP are on my Southern Flinders Ranges page.
Port Augusta Renewable Energy Park under construction, 2021/05/05
Photo taken using my drone. At the time of my visit there were 8 complete turbines, 8 partly constructed towers, and the turbine seen here being completed.
This project has been proposed by DP Energy Australia (DPEA), who have a Net page on the project. DPEA state that they have lodged a Development Application with the SA Department of State Development (apparently in early December 2015).
It received approval from the state government in August 2016.
The map at the right shows that the wind farm will be on both sides of the Port Augusta to Port Pirie highway (from upper left to lower centre of the map). Upper Spencer Gulf is on the left and the lower slopes of the Flinders Range can just be seen on the right of the map.
On 2015/12/04 the DPEA Home Page included a photo taken near Wilpena, about 130km from the proposed wind farm.
The solar PV array has been proposed to cover 400 hectares. The total capacity of the Port Augusta Renewable Energy Park (PAEP) has been given as 375MW.
DP Energy estimate that the completed energy park will generate about 1000 GWh of clean energy each year, saving 470 thousand tonnes of greenhouse carbon dioxide emissions.
In mid December it was reported in The Transcontinental (Port Augusta) that
"DP Energy is set to lodge a development application for Stage 2 of the
$600million Port Augusta Renewable Energy Park."
My own opinionI would not like to see wind turbines between the main road and the Flinders Range. This is one of the few wind farms that I'd prefer was not built; or at least the part between the road and the range.
There are some views and areas that should be 'sacred'.
(Wind farm name uncertain)This proposed wind farm is interesting for it's large size and the fact that the proposal came from a group of 30 farmers who recognised the potential on their land. Michael McCourt, of Beachport, is heading the project on behalf of the farmers.
The agreement by Macquarie Capital Group Ltd. to take "responsibility for all of the ongoing development activities for the proposed wind farm" (reported in Border Watch, 2009/12/22) is very significant because it indicates that financial backing has been obtained; always a hugely important mile-stone for any wind farm development.
The wind farm is to be built on the Woakwine Range between Beachport and Mount Benson. Beachport is 78 km NW of Mount Gambier, Mount Benson is about 60 km NNW of Beachport.
I suspect that substantial upgrading of the power transmission system will be needed before the project can proceed.
Energy Australia decided that a wind farm on this site would be unviable, and announced that on 2014/04/14. Several reasons have been given by EA and others. I will not speculate.
Robertstown is 50 km ESE of Clare, 21 km north of Eudunda, and 110 km NNE of Adelaide; the wind farm is about 6 km west of the Robertstown township. The proponent was originally Tasmania-based Roaring 40s, but when this was disbanded it was transferred to Energy Australia.
In early 2012 Energy Australia, under its older name, TRUenergy, released a locally conducted opinion survey concerning its existing and proposed Mid-North wind farms. More detail under links.
Community Liaison GroupEnergy Australia have established a Community Liaison Group concerning its three Mid-North wind farms. The group meets every second month and brings together many interested local people with TRUenergy staff and experts in various fields relevant to wind power. (I, David Clarke, the author of these pages, am a member of the group.)
This section discusses Snowtown Stage 1.
Stage 2 is discussed below.
|Status||No. of turbines||Manufacturer||Model||MW each||Total MW||First power|
|Operating||48||Suzlon||S88||2.1||100.8||March 2008||Early September 2008||41%||S 33.75°||E 138.13°|
The capacity factor was calculated from AEMO data from July 2009 to December 2012 inclusive, is the best I have calculated for any Australian wind farm (as of December 2012) and is very good by world standards. It takes into account the 48th turbine added in July 2011. (The average capacity factor for south-eastern Australian wind farms is about 35%.)
Following construction of Snowtown 2, the capacity factor of Snowtown 1 fell to around 39% (figures from AEMO's SA Renewable Energy Report for 2016).
|Owner||Trust Power Ltd.|
|Project cost||Aust$220 million|
|Expected output||350 GWh/yr|
|Greenhouse gas savings||345 000t/yr|
|Turbine type||47 Suzlon S88-2.1 MW|
1 Suzlon S95-2.1 MW
|Tower height (to hub)||80m|
|Height to blade tip||124m|
|Rotational speed||15 to 17.6RPM|
|Speed at blade tip||69 to 81m/sec. or 249 to 292 km/hr|
While Trust Power own this wind farm, the Indian based company Suzlon built it, operate it and maintain the turbines.
The contract calls for a minimum availability of 97%; that is, as I understand it, total turbine/hours of downtime must be no more than 3% of the total turbine/hours in a year.
The wind farm started feeding power into the grid in December 2007 and was officially opened on 2nd November 2008. In the Australian Electricity Generation Report of 2008, available from Australian Policy Online, this wind farm is listed as the eleventh largest renewable energy power station in mainland eastern Australia, and the fifth largest wind farm, by generation for 2008, generating 195 MWh.
Some of my photos of Snowtown Wind Farm are on another page.
Phil Barry, CEO of Wakefield Regional Council informed me that
Trust Power was the majority funder of the wind farm tourist information
display at Snowtown and that the total project value was about
The output of Snowtown Wind Farm is expected to decline by 19GWh/year (4.9%) following construction of Snowtown 2 due to wind shading.
Snowtown is a small town, it is home to about 400 people, but it is doing far more than its share in the fight against out-of-control climate change.
Snowtown Wind Farm is abating around 345 000 tonnes of greenhouse
carbon dioxide each year.
The Garnaut report showed that Australia's CO2 emissions were 28 tonnes per
person in 2006, so the Snowtown wind farm is abating the emissions from
around twelve thousand Australians!
A praise-worthy achievement for a small town.
Update 2019/12/05Snowtown Stage 2 was sold by Tilt Renewables to Palisade Investment Partners Limited and First State Super in December 2019 for $1.07 billion "in the biggest single transaction of its type in the country"; apparently more than some expected. See RenewEconomy.
|The completed Snowtown Wind Farm, first and second stages; 2014/06/11|
Click on the image to view full size; use your browser's back arrow to come back to this page after viewing.
Trust Power has a Net page for Snowtown Stage 2. The expected capital cost was Aus$439 million.
There has been an unconfirmed report that landholders were to be paid a total of $2.4 million per year. This is $26 666 per year per turbine and if true is much higher than I have heard of for other wind farms. Trust Power would not confirm it, stating that it was confidential.
An idea of the scale of the job of transporting the tubine parts to the wind farm site was given by the statement that "If you laid out the rotor blades alone end to end they would form a road train about 13 kilometers long."
Combined with Snowtown Stage 1, this wind farm will save 700 000 tonnes of greenhouse CO2 per year.
The Siemens turbines are direct drive (no gearbox) with a perminant magnet generator, 10 turbines have a rotor diameter of 101m and the remaining 80 have a rotor of 108m diameter (bigger than any in previously built in SA). The turbines with the smaller rotors are in the areas with stronger or more turbulent winds.
Trust Power ran a media release 2012/05/02 that said, among other things:
"Trust Power has entered into a power sale and purchase agreement for the output of Snowtown II with Origin Energy, which already has a purchase agreement for 89% of the Snowtown 1 facility. The Snowtown II Wind Farm, as the expansion will be known, will be located adjacent to the existing Snowtown 1 facility and comprise 90 turbines with an installed capacity of 270MW. The 3MW turbines for the expansion will be supplied by Siemens. It is intended that Snowtown Stage 2 will be split into two separately metered wind farms, 144MW which will be owned by Trust Power and 126MW by a co-investor. Trust Power will be the operator for the total Snowtown wind farm site under a long term management services arrangement. Trust Power is currently running a targeted selection process to identify a co-investor and hopes to make an announcement within the next few months."The new turbines went mainly into three areas:
Snowtown 2 consists of two separately metered wind farms, Snowtown 2 North (144MW) and Snowtown 2 South (126 MW), sharing a single transmission line owned by Trust Power.
|Expected output of Snowtown 2|
|Snowtown 2 North||504||40.0%|
|Snowtown 2 South||481||43.6%|
|Total Snowtown 2||985||41.7%|
(My figure for the capacity factor for Snowtown 1 is 41%.)
Snowtown 1 plus Snowtown 2 has a combined installed capacity of 370.8MW, making it the second biggest in Australia, following Macarthur at 420; however, the combined Snowtown WF is more productive than Macarthur. It generates more power than any other Australian wind farm. The Hallett group (operating) is close behind at 351MW.
As of April 2016 there was an agreement between the operators and Diamond Energy, an electricity retailing company.
|Status||No. of turbines||Manufacturer||Model||MW each||Total MW||Commissioned||Capacity factor||Lat||Long|
|Operating||22||NEG Micon||NM64||1.5||33||September 2003||27%||S 35.57°||E 138.16°|
It is located across two hills south of Rapid Bay, Starfish Hill and Salt Creek Hill, with 8 turbines on Starfish Hill and 15 on Salt Creek Hill. For directions to Starfish Hill go to ExplorOz.
|Project cost||Aust$65 million|
|Annual production||Approx. 100 GWh|
|Turbine make||Neg Micon (now Vestas)|
|Height to turbine hub||68m|
|Height to blade tip||100m|
An interesting feature of this wind farm is that the tips of the turbine blades can be rotated independently of the remainder of the blade. This can be used to stop the turbines when needed.
Some of the turbines made a strange sound when rotating slowly.
After a time I concluded that the turbine blades must be hollow and partly
filled with water which cascaded backward and forward as the turbines
rotated. When they rotated at full speed the centrifugal force must have
been sufficient to keep the water at the far end of the blades and stop
I have since been informed that it is unlikely that there could be water
in the blades, but have heard no other explanation for the strange sound.
It seems that this turbine was dismantled and not replaced following the fire.
Wind turbines at Starfish Hill, Cape Jervis, South Australia|
This was the first South Australian wind farm.
Energy Australia was the original proposer of the project; Palisades took it over from them.
The project was started by Roaring 40s who held a community information session on this wind farm at the Burra Town hall on 2009/12/03. Since then, Roaring 40s was broken up and the Stony Gap WF project was taken over by TRUenergy and later by Energy Australia.
In early 2012 TRUenergy released a locally conducted opinion survey concerning its existing and proposed Mid-North wind farms. More detail under links.
This wind farm and the nearby Waterloo Wind Farm seem to have raised a more
organised than usual opposition.
|Status||No. of turbines||MW each||Total MW||Construction||Lat||Long|
There has been considerable public opposition to the project; RES have reduced the proposed number of turbines by 40 in response.
Construction was expected to create 160 jobs, with eight full-time jobs once the wind farm was operating.
RES have promised a $50,000 per year community development fund for the expected 25-year life of the project.
|Status||No. of turbines||MW||Total MW||Battery||Construction date||Lat||Long|
|Proposed||51||About 3.6||183||50MW/215MWh||Undecided||Approx. S 34.24°||E 138.99°|
The total height to the blade tip of each turbine will be 180m.
|Status||No. of turbines||MW||Total MW||Construction date||Lat||Long|
|Proposed||36||1.65||59.4||Undecided||Approx. S 34.71°||E 137.88°|
Quoting from the Yorke Peninsula Country Times, 2008/04/15, "Currently the
132kv [power transmission] line serving Yorke Peninsula is at capacity
and, until the capacity constraints are resolved and the electricity
transmission infrastructure upgraded, this project and others like it are
likely to remain on hold."
Note that this same problem has stopped the development of Wattle Point
Stage 2 wind farm.
The SA Government talks big on sustainable energy, but does much less.
|Output GWh/year||Greater than 140|
|Greenhouse gas saving||Estimated 145 000t/yr|
|Project cost||Aus$100 million|
Waterloo was constructed by Tasmania-based Roaring 40s at a cost in excess of $300m. In April 2011 it was passed to TRUenergy, who later changed their name to Energy Australia. By 2017 the majority owner and manager was Palisades.
On 2010/08/19 Dijana Jevremov of Roaring 40s informed me that the closest turbine to a residence at Waterloo Wind Farm is "at or near to 2 km away".
|Stage||Status||No. of turbines||Manufacturer||Model||MW each||Total MW||Capacity factor||Completion||Lat||Long|
|Turbine type||Vestas V90 3 MW|
|Weight of each blade||6.7t|
|Hub and nose cone weight||22t|
|Concrete used||360 cubic m each|
|Steel reo used||30t each|
|Total weight||910t each|
|Buried aluminium||28 km|
|Buried optical fibre||28 km|
The turbines are along the top of a well defined sharp ridge running parallel to, and four kilometres west of, Tothill Range. The point specified by latitude and longitude in the table above is in the approximate centre of the wind farm and is about 3.5 km east of Waterloo. Waterloo is about 30 km SE of Clare.
An interesting point about this wind farm is that the turbines are 43% bigger than most of those previously constructed in northern South Australia; ie. 3 MW rather than 2.1 MW. (3 MW turbines have also been used at Lake Bonney Stage 3 Wind Farm.)
On the grape vine: The quartzite rock on the ridge is so hard that it has to be blasted before footings can be built. However, it is generally too fractured for rock anchors to be used, so the footings are of the heavy gravity type.
The SA EPA found the Waterloo Wind Farm to be compliant with state wind farm permissible noise levels in late 2011.
In early 2012 Energy Australia released a locally conducted opinion survey concerning its existing and proposed Mid-North wind farms. More detail under links.
"In the past year, allocation by Waterloo wind farm to community has been driven by strategic partnerships, rather than via a 'Community Fund'. This included major contributions of;So, the total for the year listed above is $64 500. This is $1740 per turbine, well above the average for SE Australia (around $1000). Excluding the $12 500 for the CSIRO funding, which did not go to the local community, the total was $52 000, or $1405 per turbine for the year; still well above average.
In addition, there was support of smaller events such as the Saddleworth Christmas party (approx 1-2k) and the ($4k) Swimming Australia learn to Swim classes at the Clare pool.
- $27,000 for the Community Information Shelter at Waterloo;
- $7,500 for the CFS to purchase a generator;
- $17,500 for Clare races event;
- $12,500 to the CSIRO study of social licence.
This year, funding will be predominantly allocated via the Community Fund – $20,000 over the year. Further to this we plan to allocate $5,000 funding to the set up and development of community bus tours of Waterloo and the training of a tour guide. There is then also the Retail Offer which is now available to all residents and businesses in the region, offering a 14% discount. We support the lodgement of a grant for the SEB grant. We will also look to host an open day later in the year.
Funding for the ongoing CLG will continue as will community advertising to ensure wider community is aware of our actions and priorities. If the CSIRO study is reinvigorated, we may also extend further funding to this."
The second stage was completed in late 2016.
It has been claimed that several houses have been abandoned at Waterloo due to the wind farm. However, evidence given at the hearing in Clare of the SA Parliamentary Committee Inquiry into Wind Farms, suggests that the houses may well have been vacated due to loss of employment at the local quarry.
The email below was sent by one of the opponents of the Waterloo Wind farm
and seems to be encouraging people to lie about loss of
sleep and illnesses caused by Waterloo Wind Farm.
(I originally did not give the name of the sender, but when it was published
in Adelaide Now I saw no reason to not include it here.)
Invitation to lie?"From: Mary Morris
Sent: Wednesday, 5 September 2012 12:44 PM
Subject: URGENT AND IMPORTANT - SEND NOISE /HEALTH COMPLAINTS TO CLARE AND GOYDER COUNCIL
GOYDER COUNCIL SAYS IT HAS RECEIVED NO WRITTEN NOISE OR HEALTH COMPLAINTS REGARDING THE WATERLOO WIND FARM.
They have the power to shut the wind farm down and get the noise nuisance investigated.
LETS DO IT!!!
Please send in a written complaint to both the Goyder Council and Clare Council
All it has to be is a simple letter stating that the noise and vibration is causing a serious disturbance to sleep and rest, and/or that people are becoming sick – mention elderly and frail people AND children as well especially if this applies to you.
If you have already sent in a letter, send again with a cover note that you wish your submission to be considered as a formal complaint about the effects of the Waterloo wind farm.
Clare and Gilbert Valley firstname.lastname@example.org
Need help?? Let me know"
Mary Morris was inteviewed on radio in regard to a night spent beneath the Waterloo turbines by SA Greens MP Mark Parnell. She said on this program that she lives 17km from the turbines, but when her children get headaches and earaches she blames them on the turbines.
It is interesting to contrast the results of Mr Wang's survey with another survey carried out by Qdos Research and commissioned by Energy Australia (then called TRUenergy). The results of this community survey were released in March 2011. It involved 358 people living near the Waterloo Wind Farm and the proposed Stony Gap and Robertstown wind farms. The survey indicated that 66% of respondents were concerned about climate change, 77% supported wind farms, 69% supported nearby wind farms, and a majority saw wind farms as positives for: appearance, tourism, local business, short term jobs, local economy and landholder income. As Energy Australia own and operate the Yallourn coal-fired power station, which is far larger in power generation than are their wind farms, there seems no reason to believe that Energy Australia should be biased toward renewable energy. In fact I believe that Energy Australia lobbied the government to reduce the Renewable Energy Target.report titled "Infrasound levels near windfarms and in other environments" in January 2013. While this research was not conducted at Waterloo, it is very relevant to the allegations that have been made about this wind farm.
Because of the significant controversy around the Waterloo Wind Farm I will copy the summary of the findings of the EPA study here:
The number of kangaroos on the ridge impressed me; I must have seen at least eight, including a small joey. I also saw a pair of wedge-tailed eagles circling near the turbines. All were apparently in good health.
On both visits I stopped in Waterloo township to listen for the turbines in the evening before going to the wind farm and in the morning after leaving the wind farm. With the possible exception of the first morning I could not hear them. When there was a breeze in the nearby trees the sound from this would have drowned-out any sound from the turbines. In both mornings there was very little breeze in Waterloo while there was a good breeze on the ridge. On the first morning I thought I might just be able to hear the turbines, but could not be sure; birds were making far more noise than the turbines.
I have written more about my personal experiences sleeping at or near wind farms elsewhere.
The wind farm started operating in the first half of 2005.
Alinta sold this wind farm to a wholly-owned subsidiary of the ANZ, Energy Infrastructure Trust, in April 2007 for Aus$225m. It is run by AGL.
The Google-Earth image at the right shows the locations of individual turbines and a number of the access roads.
Wattle Point is unusual in being (as of late 2009 at least) the only large Australian wind farm laid out in a grid-pattern on level ground. It would be interesting to know how much wind-shadowing there is due to this lay-out.
In the Australian Electricity Generation Report of 2008, available from Australian Policy Online, this wind farm is listed as the eighth largest renewable energy power station in mainland eastern Australia, and the third largest wind farm, by generation for 2008, generating 248 MWh.
|Status||No. of turbines||Manufacturer||Model||MW each||Total MW||Completed||Capacity factor||Lat||Long|
|Operating||55||Vestas||V82||1.65||91||May 2005||33%||S 35.10°||E 137.72°|
|Type of turbine||Vestas V82|
|Total area of wind farm||11.5 square kilometres|
|Height to blade tip||110m|
|Expected life||25 years|
|Expected annual generation||312 GWh|
312 GWh/annum was roughly 2% of South Australia's electricity at the
time Wattle Point was built.
The above data were from Research Institute for Sustainable Energy, (RISE).
This was proposed to be a 25 MW wind farm near the present Wattle Point farm. At least to October 2008 it has not been built. The hold up seems to be the lack of capacity in the transmission lines.
Following an inquiry I sent to the District Council of Yorke Peninsula I received the following by email...
Please be advised that Council have approved of a second wind farm near Wattle Point a couple of years ago, however, the development has not proceeded due to the fact that there is insufficient capacity in the transmission lines to accommodate additional power loadings.More recently (October 2008) I have had confirmation from another source (I will not give the name) that the reason this farm was not built was a lack of support by the State Government.
Until such time that there is an extensive up grade to the existing transmission lines, which would cost the state government millions of dollars, the development will not occur.
I trust that this information answers you enquiry.
ROGER S BROOKS
ACTING DIRECTOR DEVELOPMENT & COMMUNITY SERVICES
District Council of Yorke Peninsula
So it seems yet again that a wind farm development that could happen is
not going to happen because of lack of the needed government support, in
this case, state government
Infigen Investor Relations sent me links to two MP3 files, on 2010/12/15, of interviews with Frank Boland, Infigen Project Manager, who was speaking about the Woakwine Wind Farm. Together with the wind farm size data and probable construction date given in the summary table below, he said that the cost of the project was expected to be greater than $800m. He said that the northern section would comprise 49 turbines and go from Cape Jaffa to Mount Benson, the largest, southern, section would go from Mount Hope to Lake Bonney (98 turbines), and there would be another six turbines near Robe. He also said that the closest turbines to houses of people without a financial connection to the wind farm would be 600 to 700m away.
Infigen seem to have little information about the project on their Net pages as of 2011/12/10.
|Status||No. of turbines||MW||Total MW||Construction date|
|Approved||153||3?||450 to 540||Unknown|
|Northern||S 37.01°||E 139.76°|
|Robe||S 37.18°||E 139.75°|
|Southern||S 37.56°||E 140.23°|
Infigen had a pdf file on its 'Australian development pipeline' (no longer available) that mentioned the project.
The power transmission network in the region is already strugling to handle the load from the existing wind farms; it will need substantial development before this project can be brought online.
|Status||No. of turbines||MW||Total MW||Construction date||Lat.||Long.|
|Proposed||90?||2?||180||Undecided||S 33.83°||E 139.05°|
Until some significant money is spent on investigation a proposed wind farm may be little more than wishful thinking and is not worth covering in more detail than that below.
|Eyre Peninsula||Elliston Stage 1|
|Ausker Energies & ANZ Infrastructure Services||55||Planning approved|
No transmission lines
|Elliston Stage 2||As above||65||Planning approved|
|Lake Hamilton/Sheringa||Hydro Tasmania||110||Feasibility|
|Mount Hill||Ratch Aust. Corp.||80||Feasitility|
|Sheringa Beach||Ausker Energies||100||Feasibility|
|Uley||Babcock and Brown and National Power||160||Feasibility|
|Fleurieu Peninsula||Kemmis Hill||Origin||?|
|Waitpinga||Waitpinga Wind Farm P.L.||?||Disallowed|
|Lower North||Thompson Beach||Water and Energy Systems P.L.||?||Prefeasibility|
|Mid-North||Kulpara||Ratch Aust. Corp.||80||Prefeasibility|
8km S of Pt Augusta
|Wind and solar.
DP Energy Australia PL|
Revived July 2015
|Skillogalee Wind Farm||DP Energy Australia PL||?||Prefeasibility|
|South East||Kongorong||Ratch Aust. Corp.||30 to 120||Prefeasibility|
|Mount Benson||Babcock and Brown National Power||130||Feasibility|
|Lake George||Babcock and Brown National Power||120||Feasibility|
As of November 2010 I have visited, or attempted to visit, 13 of the 14 operating South Australian wind farms. The best readily available map that shows all the minor roads is probably RAA's Clare Valley regional road map. Below are some notes on local accommodation, accessibility, photographing possibilities, etc. They are listed in alphabetical order.
Lake Bonney has been listed with Canunda because these two, independently owned and operated, wind farms are contiguous and it is not easy to see where one finishes and the other starts. Similarly the AGL wind farms in the Hallett area have been grouped together.
All wind farm turbines in SA are on private land. While you can often get quite close to some turbines via public roads, there will be others that cannot be approached except by crossing private land.
In my experience most farmers are very reasonable and will not object if you walk onto a property a short distance from a boundary fence, leave gates as you find them, are considerate of livestock, and do not go near sheds or homesteads without asking permission. I suggest not driving onto private land without permission. Most land-owners would prefer you to ask permission before entering on their land at all, but it is very often difficult to know who owns what land and where he/she lives. If you meet anyone, politely explain what you are doing.
I would appreciate information that would allow me to improve this section, for example, further information on local accommodation options.
Connectors (extracted from a Net page – no longer available – by Beyond Logic and elsewhere) are listed in the table above.
Peter Hannam wrote an article in The Age on 2013/09/05
reporting that the Australian Energy Regulator had approved an upgrade on
the Heywood Interconnector that will increase capacity by 40% (increasing
its capacity by around 190MW).
The upgrade will allow for the export of power from increased wind farm
capacity in South Australia.
Total installed wind power in SA, including the new Snowtown Stage 2 was 1475MW. From Mike Hudson's graph on the right it can be seen that the approximate average generation for the day was 1200MW. This represents a capacity factor of 81%.
It can be seen from the graph that between 1am and 7am SA's wind turbines were generating more power than was being consumed in the state. Indeed, most of SA's demand for the whole day was coming from the wind farms.
The dip in the power generation line from around 2pm to 3pm was due to Snowtown 2 North dropping out for a time.
Around one tonne of greenhouse CO2 is abated for every MWh generated by Australia's wind farms, so on this day about 20 tonnes of CO2 were being abated every minute; about 29 000 tonnes for the whole day.
It is interesting that the SA part of the NEM grid, and the
power interconnectors, seemed to
handle the load without problems.
(There were some power outages because of fallen trees across power lines,
Ken Jack of Stanwell (the proposers of Barn Hill Wind Farm, Red Hill – Wandearah area) kindly informed me of the wind velocities that he recorded. As some wind farm operators treat their wind velocity records as confidential, it would be unfair for me to publish the exact figure here. However, I can say that the strongest gust was well below the sort of wind that might be expected to bring down a wind turbine.
Links to subjects on this page...
On this page...
32% in 2015/16
41% wind energy for third quarter 2013
Allendale Wind Farm
Barn Hill Wind Farm
Big Battery, Hornsdale (Tesla)
Big blow of 3rd Jan 05
Bluff Range Wind Farm
Brown Hill Range Wind Farm
Canunda Wind Farm
Capacities of conventional power stations
Carmodys Hill Wind Farm
Cathedral Rocks Wind Farm
Clements Gap Wind Farm
Collaby Hill Wind Farm
Colour coding for wind farm status-Table
Coober Pedy Wind Farm
Crystal Brook Energy Park
Crystal Brook Wind Farm
Eagles at Waterloo Wind Farm
Electricity imports decreasing due to wind power-Graph
Elliston Stage 1 Wind Farm
Elliston Stage 2 Wind Farm
Emissions from generation-Graph
Emissions from power generation
EPA study at Waterloo
Eyre Peninsula wind project
Exmoor Wind Farm
Future of wind power
Generation and consumption on 2014/06/27
Generation costs at Hallett
Generation duration for SA wind-Graph
Goyder Renewables Zone
Green Point Wind Farm
Greenhouse gas emissions-Graph
Growth of the SA wind industry
Gulnare Wind Farm
Hallett Hill Wind Farm
Hallett wind farms
Hornsdale Wind Farm
(Tesla) Big Battery
Installed wind power, by wind farm-Table
Installed wind power in SA
Invitation to lie
Kemmis Hill Wind Farm
Keyneton Wind Farm
Kongorong Wind Farm
Kulpara Wind Farm
Lake Bonney Stage 1 Wind Farm
Lake Bonney Stage 2 Wind Farm
Lake Bonney Stage 3 Wind Farm
Lake Bonney wind farms
Lake George Wind Farm
Lake Hamilton-Sheringa Wind Farm
Lincoln Gap Wind Farm
More equible financial benefit?
Mount Benson Wind Farm
Mount Bryan Wind Farm
Mount Hill Wind Farm
Mount Millar Wind Farm
Myponga-Sellicks Hill Wind Farm
North Brown Hill Wind Farm
Operating SA wind farms-Graph
Other proposed wind farms
Palmer Wind Farm
Percentage of wind power in SA
Port Augusta Wind Farm
Port Patterson Wind Farm
Robe Wind Farm
Robertstown Wind Farm
Sheoak Flat Wind Farm
Sheringa Beach Wind Farm
Skillogalee Wind Farm
Sleep at Waterloo
Snowtown Wind Farm
Snowtown Wind Farm Stage 2
South Australia shows what is possible
South Australian wind farms
South Australia wind farm generation-Graph
Starfish Hill Wind Farm
Stony Gap Wind Farm
Thompson Beach Wind Farm
Troubridge Point Wind Farm
Turbine shut-down Hallett-2
Twin Creek Wind Farm
Uley Wind Farm
Vincent North Wind Farm
Visiting Canunda Wind Farm
Visiting Cathedral Rocks Wind Farm
Visiting Clements Gap Wind Farm
Visiting Hallett wind farms
Visiting Lake Bonney Wind Farm
Visiting Mount Millar Wind Farm
Visiting SA wind-farms
Visiting Snowtown Wind Farm
Visiting Starfish Hill Wind Farm
Visiting Waterloo Wind Farm
Visiting Wattle Point Wind Farm
Waitpinga Wind Farm
Waterloo Wind Farm
Waterloo Stage 2 Wind Farm
Waterloo WF: organised opposition
Wattle Point Stage 2 Wind Farm
Wattle Point Wind Farm
Weymouth Hill Wind Farm
Where SA and Mid-North SA stand on the world scene
Willogoleche Wind Farm
Wind energy contribution to SA power
Wind energy vs greenhouse intensity-Graph
Wind farm generation data
Wind farms by location
Wind farms by region
Wind generation in SA by region-Graph
Wind output at high demand periods-Graph
Wind Penetration in SA
Wind power in SA
Woakwine Range Wind Farm
Worlds End Wind Farm