Grid-connected, distributed generation, renewables
Location: Western Australia
The Albany Wind Farm is Western Power’s most ambitious renewable energy installation an dhas been in the planning stages for over ten years. 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 is now Australia’s largest wind farm. It consists of 12 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 hae a lower visual effect as the wind farm would be physically smaller. The also minimised environmental disturbance.
Approximately 50 per cent of the content of the project is Australian sourced.
The wind farm will feed electricity directly into the Albany sub-station through a 15 km underground powerline. Nearly all of this electricity will be used in the City of Albany as that is the closest electrical load. As Albany is connected to the main Western Australian grid, when the wind isn’t blowing the city will be provided with power the way it is now, via transmission lines from Western Power’s large coal and gas fired power stations further north. On some occassions, probably in the middle of the night when load is low, if it is very windy the wind farm may actually 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 77,000 MWh of electricity equivalent to 75 per cent of the City of Albany’s electricity requirements or about 15,000 homes. This will result in a lowering of greenhouse gas emissions by about 77,000 tonnes per year, as less coal and gas will have to be burnt by Western Power in its large power stations.
Owner: Western Power
Capacity: 21.6 MW
Location: Albany, Western Australia
Commissioned: September 2001
Capital Cost: $45 million
Construction Contractor: ENERCON Power Corporation Pty Ltd
Operator: Western Power
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