Last updated November 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 with all 73 wind turbines installed and final commissioning works being completed. It is currently expected that the wind farm will be completed and become operational during December 2014.
Key development milestones have included:
Construction Phases (mostly complete)
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 and testing of installed turbines
- Site restoration for areas of earthworks
The transport of all the large wind turbine components to site has been completed and all 73 turbines have been installed. Some packaging material is still to be removed in conjunction with site restoration works.
Construction works have extended beyond the initial schedule and are nearing completion.
The Operation stage is expected to commence in December 2014.
WIND FARM OPERATIONS
Operations – wind turbines
All turbines have now been constructed and once commissioning and testing of all turbines has been 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 – December 2014 and Q1 2015
The construction of the 73 turbines was completed in October 2014 and followed by the final stage of commissioning and testing of the individual turbines.
Activities undertaken during November/December 2014 have included:
- 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 as construction activities are completed and progressive rehabilitation of site compounds
- removal and rehabilitation of any temporary road alignments
- provision of on-site and off-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.
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, approval will be sought for the excursion from standard hours and, if approved, members of the community will be notified in advance.
The continued operation of the wind farm includes maintenance activities that occur on a scheduled basis and if necessary as non-routine maintenance to address any operational issues that arise. Maintenance works are undertaken in accordance with the site management documents, project approval requirements and Environment Protection License requirements.