World-class wind

Roaring 40s Renewable Energy’s wholly owned Waterloo wind farm represents a new era of renewable energy.

Thirty-seven Vestas V90 3 MW turbines stretch over an 18 km rocky ridgeline in South Australia. The Roaring 40s-owned Waterloo wind farm is located about 30 km south-east of the township of Clare and 100 km north of the state capital Adelaide. Its total maximum generating capacity of 111 MW is connected through a 33 kV internal reticulation network to the wind farm substation.

As one of the first wind farms commissioned following last year’s renewable energy target legislation, Roaring 40s managing director, Stephen Symons believes the project represents the start of a new renewable era. According to Mr Symons, wind is the best place to be delivering on a renewable energy target.

“On a large industrial scale, you’re going to need to take up a good portion of wind in order to have a good chance of meeting the (renewable energy) target,” Mr Symons told Energy Source & Distribution.
“The target of 41,000 GW is a big target. We’ve had a couple of false starts and really now we are needing to get projects to come through over the course of the next immediate period so we can have any chance of meeting the target.”

A 1.8 km 132 kV transmission line connects the wind farm into the ElectraNet transmission network via the new Waterloo east substation. All turbines are commissioned and are currently exporting to the grid. All major construction has been completed and full generation was achieved on 3 October, 2010, ahead of the original planned deadline.

Managing his first large-scale energy project, Mr Symons said there was a considerable amount of excitement across the company concerning Waterloo.

“If we look at when this project was financed, which was financially closed in July last year, we were just on the right side of the global financial crisis. So it was a bit achievement for us to achieve obtaining finance at that time when the market was a pretty tough market. So that is quite a source of pride for myself and the whole of Roaring 40s,” he said.

The construction team overcame several challenging issues including topography and unique vegetation, which placed limitations on the design of access roads and hard stands. This consequently restricted movement of heavy vehicle deliveries and crane operation activities.

“Adverse weather conditions, including high rainfall and high winds further restrained construction activities and not only tested the construction methodology, but also the relationship between contractors. All survived the test and the wind farm was completed in an incredible 15 months,” Roaring 40s Waterloo project manager, Justin Couper said.

Mr Symons said their mission is to successfully provide renewable energy solutions through processes that are transparent, environmentally responsible and beneficial to the community.

“Wind energy is the fastest growing form of electricity generation world-wide. Capacity has grown by an average of 28 per cent each year over the last 10 years, with the Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC) reporting global wind generation capacity to reach close to 200 GW this year. Wind energy now meets the needs of more than 25 million households world-wide,” Mr Symons said.

With the full commissioning of the Waterloo wind farm, South Australia is set to pass 1000 MW of wind power, consistent with South Australian Government’s commitment of 33 per cent of its electricity generated from renewable sources by 2020.

Roaring success

Currently operating and developing wind farms across Australia, Roaring 40s’ vision is to be one of the leading renewable energy businesses in Australia. With the completion of Waterloo wind farm, Roaring 40s has four operational wind farms totalling 317 MW across both South Australia and Tasmania.

The Roaring 40s organisation was formed through a partnership between Hydro Tasmania and the CLP Group. Together they are committed to finding effective renewable energy solutions for industry and the community at large.

“That’s very much a part of our mandate, to be developing renewable projects which helps Australia meet its target of reducing emissions and having more renewable energy which is generated and used by, ultimately, end users,” Roaring 40s managing director, Stephen Symons told Energy Source & Distribution.

Mastering the wind

Wind energy is the least expensive large-scale renewable energy generation technology available, according to Roaring 40s. Being a clean, renewable resource, wind is the one power resource available that is as close to being as fully sustainable as possible.

Other benefits of wind energy projects include shorter construction times than other types of power stations and ‘modularity’ – the ability to add more turbines as the electricity demands increase.

The approval process for wind farm development differs from country-to-country. Currently in Australia, before any wind farm can proceed, local, state and federal government approvals must be in place.

A major part of Roaring 40s consultation policy also includes the local community and any other stakeholders having a valid interest in the particular development.