Wattle Point Wind Farm

As of 2017, South Australia had 17 operating wind farms and prior to 2003 the only wind turbine, of significance, in the state was in the opal town of Coober Pedy.

Wattle Point Wind Farm is near the small town of Edithburgh, on the Yorke Peninsula in South Australia.  It is made up of 55 wind turbines on 11.5 square kilometres of land on the coast, cost A$180 million and commissioned in 2005.  The opening of the wind farm was opposed by local Indigenous landowners who argued that the construction desecrated ancient burial grounds. 

Information Centre

When human bones were found during construction, work stopped until the matter was resolved between elders of the traditional owners of the land and the South Australian state government.  Archeological reports revealed the bones had come from elsewhere on the peninsula and subsequently removed.  Once construction was complete the bones were reburied on the site and consecrated.

Looking back from Hinton across the bay to Wattle Point

Wind power has only become a significant energy source within the last decade and encouraged by a number of factors.

  • The Australian Federal Government’s Renewable Energy Target that requires retailers to produce a proportion of energy from renewable sources.
  • South Australian incentives that includes supportive regulations and a payroll tax rebate for large renewable energy developments.
  • The state’s proximity to the Roaring Forties means there was a high quality of wind resources to exploit.

Typically a wind farm could produce between 32 – 38% of its “nameplate capacity” averaged over a year. Nameplate capacity refers to the maximum output of a generating plant under normal operating conditions.

The graph below indicates wind power’s contribution to the state’s power supplies over a number of years.

Graph indicates increased contributions from commissioning until 2011

But wait, there’s more.

  • Each tower is 67 metres high and made of tubular steel.
  • Each tower has three sections and weighs 90 tonnes in total: and weighs the equivalent of 15 African elephants – how amazing is that.
  • Each arm of the propeller measures a whopping 40 metres
  • The 55 wind turbines on the farm are connected by a network of underground cabling to a sub-station located within the farm site
  • Transmission lines carry the electricity to a larger sub-station located at Dalrymple, where it is delivered to the national electricity grid.

***

Day Twenty-three of the 2019 A-Z Challenge during the month of April. The challenge is to post six days a week, Sunday respite from writing or catching up with other participants and their posts. Each of the twenty-six days represents a letter of the alphabet and while each post stands alone they form part of a loose theme reflecting our retirement trip around Australia: Our Big Fat Aussie Road Trip.

 

 

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