Overview

Hornsdale Wind Farm is a project consisting of up to 105 wind turbines located between 8km and 24km north of Jamestown in South Australia, in the locality of Hornsdale.

The aim of this project is to develop an environmentally and economically sound wind farm that will provide renewable energy to be used locally and exported to the national grid.

Hornsdale Wind Farm will generate approximately 1,050,000 mega watt hours of clean, renewable electricity into the national power grid each year, thereby making a major contribution to Australia’s greenhouse gas reductions. These reductions will be equivalent to taking either 290,000 cars off the road or planting 1,900,000 trees, producing enough electricity to power approximately 180,000 homes with renewable energy.

The electricity generated from each turbine will be transmitted via underground cabling or overhead transmission line to a central cable marshalling point at the onsite substation, which will be located adjacent to the 275 kV power line that runs through the site area. The substation will then connect directly into the National Electricity Transmission Grid.

Detailed site investigations have been undertaken which formed the basis of the planning application which was lodged on 26th October 2011. Development approval was granted on 4th July 2012 by the Minister for Planning, Mr. John Rau. It anticipated that construction of the project will commence in late 2013.

Planning

The Hornsdale Wind Farm received Crown agency sponsorship because it provides infrastructure used in connection with the supply of electricity. Accordingly, the planning application was subject to the approval process set out in Section 49 of the Development Act, 1993.

An application under Section 49 is lodged with the Development Assessment Commission (DAC), an independent statutory body. Following lodgment, the application was referred to relevant State agencies and the Northern Areas Council for consideration.

The Section 49 assessment process conducted by the Development Assessment Commission included public notification of the planning application, and invitation to make written submissions. Any person who made a written submission was entitled to make a representation at the hearing conducted by the Development Assessment Commission. The DAC reviewed all submissions and provided a report on the proposal to the Minister for Urban Development and Planning, who made a final decision to grant development approval to the project on 4th July 2012.

A summary of the Section 49 assessment process is outlined in the flow chart

The project so far

The locality of Hornsdale was identified as a potential location for a wind farm in South Australia in 2009.

An initial feasibility assessment has been undertaken to determine the suitability of the area to accommodate a wind farm. This feasibility assessment has been based on the assessment criteria outlined below:

  • Landholders supportive of developing a wind farm on their property;
  • Proximity of site to sensitive visual receptors and ecological or historical environments;
  • Adequate wind resources (a wind monitoring tower was erected on site in 2010 and 3 further towers in 2011, providing many years of high quality wind data ;
  • Proximity to electricity network connection and capacity available at the anticipated connection point;
  • Suitable land in terms of:
    • Terrain and geology;
    • Ecological conditions;
    • Historic conditions;
    • Land area;
    • Compatible land uses;
    • Planning controls; and
    • Access to the site.

Following the determination of this site as a suitable location for a wind farm, via the initial feasibility assessment and confirmation of the wind resource on site, the consultancy firm Aurecon has been chosen to undertake technical assessments (including noise, ecological, visual, heritage etc) to develop a development application and assist in obtaining the relevant planning approvals.

Consultation with the participating landowners, Council and relevant Government Authorities has been undertaken and wider community engagement has been proposed with Community Information Days in Jamestown, Tarcowie and Caltowie in 2011, before Development Approval and EPBC Aprroval were granted in 2012 and 2013.

Site Location and Preliminary Wind Turbine Layout

The Hornsdale Wind Farm site comprises approximately 7,500 hectares of private freehold land. A preliminary turbine layout has been prepared based on the technical assessment and consultation undertaken to date.

This preliminary turbine layout provides for 105 x 3MW turbines; however, this layout may be amended to reflect the results of on-going technical assessments and discussions with the local community and regulators over the next few months. It is anticipated that the layout submitted in the planning application will allow micro siting flexibility for each of the proposed turbine positions.

Site Location and Preliminary Wind Turbine Layout

The Hornsdale Wind Farm site comprises approximately 7,500 hectares of private freehold land. A preliminary turbine layout has been prepared based on the technical assessment and consultation undertaken to date.

This preliminary turbine layout provides for 105 x 3MW turbines; however, this layout may be amended to reflect the results of on-going technical assessments and discussions with the local community and regulators over the next few months. It is anticipated that the layout submitted in the planning application will allow micro siting flexibility for each of the proposed turbine positions.

Project Layout

Electrical Connection

The electricity generated from each wind turbine will be transmitted via underground cable or overhead transmission line to a central cable marshalling point at the onsite substation, which will be located next to the 275kV power line that runs through the site area. The substation will then connect directly into the National Electricity Transmission Grid. The connecting 275kV lines are owned and operated by ElectraNet and are used to provide a secure transmission link between Port Augusta and the Adelaide Metropolitan Area. The power generated from the Hornsdale Wind Farm will flow into the national interconnected network.