Detailed technical assessments, including noise, ecology, heritage, visual, transport and social have been undertaken in order to prepare the planning application.
Following these studies an Environmental Management Plan will be developed, in consultation with the relevant government agencies and private stakeholders to ensure the Hornsdale Wind Farm is constructed and operates in an environmentally responsible manner.
The construction impacts of wind farms are well understood due to the developed nature of the wind industry worldwide, in Australia, and particularly in the mid-north region where a number of wind farms exist. Local area construction impacts are also well known. This knowledge together with the detailed local knowledge held by the relevant government agencies and private stakeholders will combine to minimise the wind farms impact on the local environment.
Targeted flora and fauna surveys have been undertaken by specialists on site to ensure sensitive areas of vegetation and habitat have been avoided when locating turbines.
Human activity is resulting in the release of large amounts of greenhouse gases. Such gases trap the sun’s heat in our atmosphere and upset the delicate balance of the Earth’s climate. Small changes in the temperature of the atmosphere cause accelerated melting of the polar ice caps and rising ocean levels, changes in rainfall patterns, destruction of delicate ecosystems such as coral reefs and increased extreme events such as droughts, hurricanes and cyclones. In South Eastern Australia, a decade long drying and warming trend is suspected to be a result of global warming.
Electricity production is a major source of greenhouse gas emissions. More than a third of Australia’s greenhouse emissions come from the burning of fossil fuels to produce electricity. At present, Australia has the second highest greenhouse gas emissions per unit of electricity produced in the world.
One way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions is to replace fossil fuels with a natural, renewable source of energy such as wind. Initiatives to combat climate change, such as the Kyoto Protocol, have allowed wind energy to become the world’s fastest growing energy source, with currently over 10,000 megawatts (MW) of capacity installed globally every year. The South Australian Government has chosen to support renewable energy by investing in wind energy, bringing to the state new job opportunities as well as clean electricity. South Australia is a leader in the development of wind technology, with the state hosting more than 50% of the current installed wind capacity in Australia. The state also has an aggressive renewable energy target of 30% of its power to be sourced from renewable sources by 2020.
Benefits of Wind
The environmental benefits of the Hornsdale Wind farm to the community are outlined below. They have been calculated in accordance with the Policy and Planning Guidelines for the Development of Wind Energy Facilities .
Renewable Electricity Generated Per Year
The Hornsdale wind farm will generate approximately 1,050,000 megawatt hours (MWh) of renewable electricity per year.
Greenhouse Gas Emissions Displaced
The proposed wind energy facility will displace approximately 1,250,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide or greenhouse gas emissions per year.
Average Number of Households
The proposed wind energy facility could supply enough power each year to service over 180,000 average South Australian households.
Number of Cars Taken off the Road
A wind energy facility that displaces 1,250,000 tonnes of CO2 per annum is the equivalent of taking approximately 290,000 cars off the road each year.
Equivalent Number of Trees that would need to be Planted
The 1,250,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions displaced by Hornsdale Wind Farm each year would be equivalent to the amount of carbon that would be locked up by planting 1,900,000 trees.