ABOUT WIND FARMS
Neoen’s projects use premium quality wind turbines and battery technology provided by leading manufacturers. This is selected through a competitive process for each project. All components come with long warranty periods, wind turbines are generally warrantied for 20 to 25 years.
A wind farm will typically operate for between 25 and 30 years.
Wind turbines are designed to convert wind into mechanical energy by rotating the turbine blades. The mechanical energy is converted into electricity via a generator in the nacelle, which is sent directly to the grid. The electricity generated by the turbine is proportional to the wind speed cubed.
As an example, a wind turbine in 8m/s wind will produce about 8 times as much electricity as a wind turbine in 4m/s wind. This means the correct placement of turbines in high and consistently windy areas is important for achieving the lowest cost power generation for consumers.
Generally speaking wind turbines have a tip height of between 150 and 270 metres with approximately 500 metres between each turbine. However, this varies from project to project. Larger turbines generate more energy, are spaced further apart and have lower rotational speeds than smaller turbines.
We acknowledge that wind turbines do impact the landscape but will work with communities to ensure our wind farms have the least possible detrimental impact on visual amenity. Neoen encourage individuals and groups that have questions about visual impact and remedies to engage with us early.
Overall, we consider that the immediate and long-term benefits which wind farms bring to communities offset any loss of visual amenity.
At the end of the wind farm’s life cycle (typically 25-30 years) the wind farm is decommissioned and we remove the wind turbines and all above ground structures and rehabilitate the site. This is a condition of the wind farm’s development approval from the State government and our agreement with the landowners.
During decommissioning most of the materials the wind farm is made from can be reclaimed or recycled.
- supporting more wind and solar, which are now the cheapest forms of power
- increasing competition and pushing electricity prices down
- helping to avoid blackouts and the associated costs
We will undertake a fire risk management plan prior to construction and work with the local CFA/RFS to mitigate any fire risk. We will use premium battery technology that is tested and certified to national and international standards. The installed system will have appropriate internal management and fault monitoring and detection systems, reducing the overall risk of fire.
The battery will use similar technology to the batteries that are being increasingly installed in homes, just on a larger scale. There are no known health risks associated with properly maintained large-scale battery installations.
We make a commitment that all above-ground infrastructure will be removed and the site rehabilitated when the project ceases to operate. After removal, a large percentage of the material in the batteries will be reclaimed or recycled; over 60% of materials especially critical minerals will be recovered for re-use.
A 2012 study by SKM on the economic benefits of wind farms in Australia found that, for every 50 MW in capacity, a wind farm delivered the following benefits:
- Direct employment of up to 48 construction workers, with each worker spending approximately $25,000 in the local area in shops, restaurants, hotels and other services (a total of up to $1.2 million)
- Indirect employment during the construction phase of approximately 160 people locally, 504 state jobs and 795 nationwide jobs
Renewable energy projects are now the cheapest sources of new energy generation. Wind energy projects produce energy at less than $60 per megawatt hour. The costs of other sources of generation are:
- Existing coal: approximately $40 per megawatt hour
- Combined gas-cycle generation: approximately $75 per megawatt hour
- New coal: approximately $130 per megawatt hour
Neoen pays for any electrical transmission upgrades necessary to connect and operate the project in the electricity grid. This includes construction and maintenance costs for the life of the project.
Neoen does not require government subsidies to finance its projects. We finance our projects through a combination of our own equity and long-term bank loans. However, we sometimes enter into agreements with governments or businesses to sell the power produced by our projects.
All Neoen projects meet strict State and Federal Government regulations and are assessed under these regulations. We work closely with governments to ensure we meet all legal requirements and exceed these requirements wherever possible.
Studies into the potential impact of wind farm developments on property prices, including by the NSW Valuer-General (2009) and Urbis (2016), have concluded there is insufficient evidence to suggest wind farms can be linked to adverse impacts on property prices.
Health & Culture
There are nearly 200,000 wind turbines installed worldwide — many of them in more densely populated areas close to houses.
Some 17 reviews of research literature conducted by leading health and research organisations from all over the world, including the World Health Organisation, Australia’s National Health and Medical Research Centre, the UK Health Protection Agency and the US National Research Council, have concluded there is no published evidence to positively link wind turbines with adverse health effects.
Before it can operate, a wind farm has to demonstrate that noise levels at neighbouring residences will meet strict noise limits. These limits are designed to ensure that noise from a wind farm is not intrusive for the average person.
Monitoring of dust levels during construction is a basic requirement of each project. Dust generating activities are assessed during windy conditions and are stopped and rescheduled where adequate control of dust generation cannot be achieved.
Visual observation of machinery is undertaken during site inspections in addition to daily pre-start checks which ensure all machinery has appropriate emission control devices, is in good working order and is maintained correctly.
SAFETY & ENVIRONMENT
Stock including sheep and cattle take a couple of days to get used to wind turbines, and then are very comfortable with them – they rub up against turbines and use the shade from the towers during summer.
While wind farms are sometimes accused of threatening birds, an energy governance study completed in Singapore has shown that wind farms harm 17 times fewer birds per unit of electricity produced than fossil fuel generation.
Studies show that wind farms are probably responsible for impacting birds at rates that are:
- 400 times fewer than cars
- 500 times fewer than pesticides
- 1200 times fewer than high-tension wires.