White Rock Wind Farm, Australia

White Rock Wind Farm is to be constructed in two stages within the New England Tablelands region of New South Wales (NSW), Australia. It will become the biggest wind farm in NSW when fully complete.

The groundbreaking ceremony for the project is scheduled to be held in April 2016, the construction of the substation and the associated transmission line will commence the following month, and the turbine deliveries are expected to start in September 2016.

First power from Stage 1 is anticipated in early-2017 and the construction works are scheduled to be completed later that year. The overall investment for Stage 1 is estimated to be $400m.

Wind farm project background and ownership details

The project was first conceptualised by Epuron, who received planning approval from the NSW Government in July 2012. The project was acquired by Golwind Australia, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Xinjiang Goldwind Science & Technology, in October 2014.

The wind farm is now being developed by White Rock Wind Farm, in which CECWPC, a subsidiary of China Energy Conservation and Environmental Protection Group (CECEP), has a 75% stake, the remaining 25% is owned by Goldwind Australia.

White Rock wind farm location, construction and make-up

The project site is located approximately 20km west of Glen Innes and 40km east of Inverell, south of the Gwydir Highway, and is within two local government areas (LGA), the Glen Innes Severn LGA and the Inverell Shire LGA. The site housing Stage 1 is approximately 13km-long from north to south.

The wind farm will feature 119 turbines in total, including 70 in Stage 1, which will have an installed capacity of 175MW, the second stage will increase the installed capacity to 400MW.

Goldwind’s proprietary Goldwind 121 type turbine, rated at 2.5MW, has been selected for Stage 1. The permanent magnet, direct drive (PMDD) wind turbines have a rotor diameter of 121m, a hub height of 90m and a tip height of 150m.

The project will further involve the construction of access roads, upgrade of existing local road infrastructure, a temporary concrete batching plant, on-site control buildings, equipment storage facilities, and permanent wind monitoring towers.

Connection with the NSW grid

Output from the turbines will be conveyed to the on-site 132kV substation via both underground and overhead power lines. The output will then be transferred using a new 132kV transmission line to the adjacent existing transmission line of TransGrid for subsequent connection with the NSW Grid.

The construction of the associated transmission line and the substation, and the subsequent operations and maintenance of these facilities will be performed by TransGrid.

Contractors involved with NSW’s biggest wind farm

Goldwind Australia will perform the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) works, whereas Fulton Hogan has been awarded the balance of plant (BoP) contract.

The construction environmental management plan for the project was prepared by Environmental Resources Management (ERM), whereas the design and landscape plan was prepared by Green Bean Design.

Benefits from the new wind farm in New England Tablelands region

The first stage of the project is expected to generate approximately 200 jobs and contribute between $30m and $40m to the local economy during the construction phase, and further generate up to 15 jobs during its estimated operational life of 20 years.

The annual electrical output from Stage 1 is estimated at 548GWh, which will be sufficient to serve approximately 75,000 households a year and offset 1.9 million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions by 2020.

The overall project will provide power to approximately 130,000 households, cut down carbon dioxide-equivalent emissions by approximately 754,000t annually and contribute approximately $250m to the Australian economy.