Hornsdale Wind Farm, Australia

Hornsdale Wind Farm is a 270MW wind power project being developed between 8km and 24km north of Jamestown in the locality of Hornsdale, South Australia. The wind farm is owned by French renewable energy producer Neoen, infrastructure investor John Laing, and Megawatt Capital Investments.

Development approval for the renewable power project was granted on 4 July 2012. Construction began in August 2015 and commissioning is scheduled for 2017.

The wind farm is expected to generate approximately 1.05 million mega-watt hours (MWh) of clean, renewable electricity that will be sufficient to supply for approximately 180,000 homes. The project is anticipated to create more than 250 jobs during construction and up to ten jobs through its operational life.

Hornsdale wind farm details
The South Australian wind farm site was identified in 2009. It will be spread over approximately 7,500ha of private freehold land. The project is expected to contribute to South Australia’s $10bn low-carbon investment target, as well as 50% renewable energy targets aimed to be achieved by 2025.

The wind farm was initially proposed by Investec Bank (Australia), which sold it to the joint venture of Neoen and Megawatt Capital Investments in June 2014.

The 270MW renewable power project is being developed in stages, with the first stage involving a 100MW project comprising 32 Siemens SWT-3.2-113 direct drive wind turbines. The project is expected to generate more than 400GWh of electricity a year, which is equivalent to one-fifth of the territory’s annual electricity consumption.

The Siemens wind turbines are equipped with Direct Drive technology, which helps in reducing the cost of clean energy production. The novel, low-speed generator design of the turbine, coupled directly to the three-blade rotor, eliminates the need for costly and maintenance-prone gearboxes.

The turbine tower is made of tubular steel and has a hub height of more than 90m. Each turbine has three blades measuring 55m-long, while the rotor diameter is 113m and swept area is 10,000m².

Power transmission from the Hornsdale wind project

The electricity generated by the wind turbines at Hornsdale will be transferred 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 feed the power directly to the national grid.

Sale of power generated by the South-Australian wind farm

In February 2015, Australian Capital Territory (ACT) selected Hornsdale wind farm to provide 100MW of power to Canberra through the first wind energy ‘reverse auction’. Under the auction, ACT will purchase electricity from the wind farm for a period of 20 years at a fixed price of 9.2 Australian cents per kilowatt hour (kWh).

Financing for Hornsdale wind farm

Neoen secured a long-term debt facility from KFW IPEX-Bank and Societe Generale.

Contractors involved in the wind power project
Siemens was awarded the contract for the construction, supply, and erection of 32 wind turbines along with performing complete associated project works. Apart from supplying the wind turbines, Siemens will also be responsible for the plant maintenance under a long-term maintenance contract.