Albany Wind Farm
Grid-connected, distributed generation, renewables
Location: Albany, WA
The Albany Wind Farm is Verve Energy's most ambitious renewable energy installation. The site is 12 km south-west of the City centre. It sits adjacent to cliffs along the coastline in an elevated position approximately 80 m above the Southern Ocean. The site is a coastal reserve vested in the City of Albany.
How the farm operates
The Albany wind farm consists of twelve 1.8 MW wind turbines connected to the Albany electrical system and Western Power's control network.
The turbines are ENERCON E66 machines from Germany and were installed by ENERCON Power Corporation.
The turbines were chosen because of community opinion and environmental constraints. The land in question contains sensitive coastal heath, and environmental studies showed that flora disturbance should be kept to a minimum. The wind farm is also in an area of great natural beauty. The community very strongly favoured a smaller number of larger turbines rather than many smaller units - visual amenity studies confirmed that larger turbines would also have a lower visual effect as the wind farm would be physically smaller. This also minimised environmental disturbance.
Approximately 50 per cent of the content of the project is Australian sourced.
The wind farm feeds electricity directly into the Albany sub-station through a 15 km underground powerline. Nearly all of this electricity is used in the City of Albany as that is the closest electrical load. As Albany is connected to Western Australian's main South West Interconnected System grid, when the wind isn't blowing the city is provided with power via transmission lines from Western Power's large coal and gas fired power stations further north. On some occassions, mostly in the middle of the night when load is low, if it is very windy the wind farm may export a small amount of power into the transmission network.
Environmental impact of the farm
In an average year the wind farm is expected to produce about 65,000 MWh of electricity equivalent to 50 per cent of the City of Albany's electricity requirements or about 15,000 homes. This results in a lowering of greenhouse gas emissions by about 65,000 tonnes per year, as less coal and gas is burnt by Western Power in its large power stations. Verve Energy is currently exploring the potential to increase the size of the Albany Wind Farm by 13.8MW by installing another 6 wind turbines. The project, known as the Grasmere Wind Farm, will increase the proportion of renewable electricity supplied to Albany by 30 per cent, bringing the total renewable electricity supplied to the Albany up to 80%.
|Albany, Western Australia|
|ENERCON Power Corporation Pty Ltd|