Last updated July 2014
The Gullen Range Wind Farm (GRWF) project has progressed from the initial planning stage that commenced in about 2005, through gaining of project approval in 2010, commencement of construction in 2012 and is now at an advanced stage of construction and commissioning. It is currently expected that the wind farm will be completed and become operational towards the end of 2014.
Key development milestones have included:
The construction program for GRWF has included a range of phases:
- Site establishment and preparation of access tracks – complete
- Civil works for access tracks, turbines sites, footings and hardstands – complete
- Trenching and installation of 33kV underground cables – complete
- Delivery of large items to site – complete
- Substation earthworks and installation of transformers and facilities – complete
- Erection of wind turbine structures with large crane (tower, nacelle, rotor)
- Commissioning tests on turbines
- Site restoration for areas of earthworks
The transport of the large wind turbine components to site has been completed. Some packaging material is still to be removed and a large crane will be brought to site when the last five turbines are due for construction.
Construction works are still in progress but have extended beyond the initial schedule and may not be complete until 3rd or 4th quarter of 2014.
WIND FARM OPERATIONS
Operations – wind turbines
Once all turbines have been constructed and commissioning tests are completed the wind farm will be able to commence full operation. Once operational, compliance testing will be undertaken to ensure that the wind farm is compliant with the Project Approval.
The wind turbines will be able to generate electricity when wind speeds are above a minimum wind speed (‘cut in’ wind speed) and below the maximum safe operating wind speed (‘cut out’ wind speed). As the individual turbines are at different locations and elevations and they experience different wind conditions at the same point in time, they will start up and shut down at different times.
‘Cut-In’ wind speed – 3metres/second (GW82 and GW100)
‘Cut-Out’ wind speed – 25 metres/second (GW100) and 22 metres/second (GW82)
The individual turbines are subject to routine maintenance and will be temporarily shut down from time to time for the purpose of inspections and maintenance. Where necessary, parts may need replacement and this can involve use of a large crane
Operations – 33kV/330kV Substation
The substation comprises two main elements:
- A 330kV Switchyard operated by TransGrid that connects the wind farm to the Grid
- A 33kV/330kV substation that is operated by New Gullen Range Wind Farm Pty Ltd.
The 330kV switchyard is a TransGrid asset that will be operated and maintained by TransGrid. It will be surveyed and subdivided from the project lands to be separately recognized as part of TransGrid’s assets.
The 33kV/330kV substation (excluding the TransGrid 330kV switchyard) is owned, operated and maintained by New Gullen Range Wind Farm Pty Ltd. The wind farm operators will be based at the substation locality and will conduct inspection and maintenance activities throughout the wind farm site.
Future activities – latter part of 2014 (Q3/Q4)
There are still five wind turbines to be installed, one in the Bannister Group and four in the Gurrundah Group of turbines. Their construction has been deferred during the Modification Application process in consultation with DPE. It is anticipated that construction of these turbines will occur in Q3 or Q4.
Other activities being undertaken during Q3/Q4 include:
- removal of equipment packaging used for transport of components to the site
- pre-commissioning checks on all high-voltage equipment
- checks on mechanical and safe operation of the wind turbines
- checks of compliance with project approval
- site restoration of areas disturbed by civil works
- demobilisation once construction is completed and rehabilitation of site compounds
- removal and rehabilitation of any temporary road alignments
- provision of on-site landscaping elements
The bulk of civil works is complete but site rehabilitation may still require the use of trucks, graders, excavators, rollers, water carts and backhoes. Large trucks may be used to remove packaging from the site. This includes removal of recyclable materials.
Erection of the remaining five turbines will utilize trucks, large cranes, power tools, lighting towers, generators and service crews using small vans.
Work on site will generally take place during standard construction hours as follows:
- Monday to Friday: 7am – 6pm
- Saturday: 8am – 1pm
Should any works need to be undertaken outside of these hours, for example night erection of turbines as a result of strong winds during the day, approval will be sought for the excursion from standard hours and, if approved, members of the community will be notified in advance.