Tuesday 6 December 2011

Giant turbine blades arrive for Macarthur farm

17 Nov 2011

ENORMOUS turbine blades are now making their way to the Macarthur wind farm. The 56-metre blades have been supplied by Danish company Vestas and imported through the Port of Portland. When assembled each turbine will have a generation capacity of three MWs. The $1 billion Macarthur project--set to be among the southern hemisphere's largest--is a joint venture between AGL Energy and Meridian Energy. A workforce of about 350 people is presently based at the project site, which extends across 5500 hectares of freehold agricultural land.

AGL Energy spokeswoman Karen Winsbury said the wind farm's first turbine was due to be assembled in coming weeks. "Construction of the Macarthur wind farm is progressing within schedule, with the first tower section being erected last Thursday", she said. "The Tarrone North Road upgrade was completed two weeks ago and the Macarthur-Hawkesdale Road is complete subject to some remedial work being required and ongoing maintenance". Portland's Keppel Prince Engineering is supplying 80 of the wind farm's towers, while the remaining 60 are being built by Adelaide-based RPG Australia. Ms Winsbury said AGL Energy appreciated the community's patience during the construction phase. The 420- MW wind farm is due to be finished by early 2013.

Win for $477m Hawkesdale, Port Fairy projects

18 Nov 2011

TWO major south-west wind farms are to become reality after a green light from the state government. Union Fenosa Wind Australia has secured planning permit extensions for projects at Hawkesdale and Ryan Corner, about 10 km north of Port Fairy. Planning Minister Matthew Guy's decision to grant the extensions goes against the wishes of Moyne Shire Council, which agreed in August the developer should not be given more time. Early construction works on the $477 million wind farms is now due to begin by next March.

Before making his decision, Mr Guy had asked Moyne councillors for their views on a permit extension. While shire mayor Jim Doukas could not be contacted for comment yesterday, in August he described the five-one vote to oppose extra time as a wake-up call for renewable energy proponents. Mr Guy granted permit extensions in line with transitional arrangements that form part of amendment VC82. The amendment, gazetted in August, established no-go zones for wind farms and prohibited turbines from being placed closer than two km to a house without permission from its owner.

Union Fenosa said the new policy also ensured that approved and advanced projects like Ryan Corner and Hawkesdale could progress to the construction stage. Company spokesman Thomas Mitchell said the wind farms would not be subject to new setback rules as they were approved before VC82 was introduced. Early construction works will include VicRoads-approved entrances to the sites from public roads, compounds for site management team offices and some internal access tracks.

Portland's GR Carr Construction is to deliver the package at both the 31-turbine Hawkesdale wind farm and the 67-turbine Ryan Corner project, which will together generate 196 MWs of electricity. Planning permits for the wind farms were first granted in 2008 and were due to expire in August. The extensions provided by Mr Guy expire in mid-March next year. Mr Mitchell said Union Fenosa's early works package would trigger a six-year window for project completion at both sites.