REpower Australia has taken on sole responsibility for the final stages of development of the Rugby Wind Farm.
REpower Australia is grateful to Windlab for their wind farm development expertise which has helped ensure a thoughtfully designed wind farm project. This change will not have any impact on the proposed project.
In April last year, we removed 36 turbines from the proposed wind farm layout based on input from the local community and the release of the draft NSW wind farm planning guidelines. Since then, we have been working hard to update the detailed, expert studies looking at the benefits and impacts of the proposed Rugby Wind Farm.
The Rugby Wind Farm Project Team has now submitted a draft Environmental Assessment Report which is currently being reviewed by the NSW Department of Planning for adequacy.
All feedback from the community, state Government and local Government will be addressed in the final Environmental Assessment Report . Following this, we plan to hold a public information session, followed by a Public Exhibition Period where submissions will be invited from anyone with an interest in the project.
Wind farms projects have a range of safety features, including:
Wind turbines have a variety of on-board control systems that have been specifically designed to mitigate the risk of fire. Each wind turbine is connected to a control centre which constantly monitors the wind turbine and shuts down the turbines if there is a risk of overheating. Turbines also automatically shut down if they are close to functioning outside their design conditions.
The risk of fire starting as a result of a lighting strike is actually reduced by the presence of wind turbines. A built-in lightning protection system safely dissipates the electricity from the blades or the nacelle into the ground.
Wind farm projects generally require upgrades to existing road infrastructure, increasing the accessibility of farms to emergency vehicles should a bushfire break out in the vicinity of the wind farm. Fire Management Plans are developed for all Australian wind farms and apply to both construction and operational phases of projects. In Australia there have been no bush fires caused by wind turbines.
The second meeting of the Rugby Wind Farm Community Consultative Committee (CCC) was held on Monday 13th of August 2012.
The meeting included presentations by the Boorowa District Landscape Guardians, and Chris Judd, CEO of REpower Australia — the company managing the proposed project in partnership with Windlab.
We would like to thank all the CCC members who helped to make the evening a success and provided valuable contributions to the discussion, which covered health, roads, and climate change, as well as opportunities for the community to benefit from the project.
The minutes of the inaugural and second CCC meeting will soon be made available on our website and at our information centre.
Following the recent earthquakes in Canberra, we have had some questions about how seismic activity may affect operational wind turbines.
The impact of the 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Japan gives us an indication of how resilient wind farms can be to natural disasters.
According to the Japanese Wind Energy Association, not one of Japan’s 1,746 turbines was damaged by the 9.0 magnitude earthquake.
Modern wind turbines are equipped with sophisticated monitoring equipment, including vibration sensors. In the event of an earthquake, the sensors would ensure that a wind turbine would automatically shut down if it needed to.
The Rugby Wind Farm project team is working hard to produce a Draft Environmental Assessment Report that incorporates input received from the community to date, as well as the outcomes of a range of specialist technical studies that have been designed to assess the benefits and impacts of the proposed wind farm.
Following review by the NSW Department of Planning and Infrastructure, the report will be exhibited publicly. Members of the community will be able to make formal submissions on the proposed wind farm during this Public Exhibition Period.
During the winter months we will be limiting the opening hours of the information centre to Fridays between the hours of 9:30 am and 5:30 pm. We will reopen the information centre to support the Public Exhibition Period of the Rugby Wind Farm’s Environmental Assessment, to provide access to information, and to support community members who wish to make submissions. If you have any queries outside of information centre operating hours please contact our information line on: 1800 366 078 or our email address: email@example.com
The second Community Consultative Committee meeting is planned for August 2012. We are looking forward to another opportunity to hear from the local community and gain further community insights into the proposed Rugby Wind Farm. Minutes from the meetings will be made available on our website once they have been approved by committee members.
Visitors to our Information Centre have lots of questions about the proposed Rugby Wind Farm and wind energy in general. We plan to answer the most common questions in our regular project updates. This week we discuss increases in the price of electricity.
The Rugby Wind Farm team are often asked if wind energy and the Large Scale Renewable Energy Target (LRET) are contributing to increases in electricity price rises.
The Australian Energy Market Commission’s (AEMC) 2011-2014 Retail electricity price increase estimates, says that retail residential electricity prices are expected to increase by 37% nationally between July 2011 and the end of June 2014
According to the AEMC:
According to the AEMC’ s report the costs of meeting the LRET are expected to comprise a mere 1.8% of electricity bills in 2014. To read the AEMC report in full please go to: http://www.aemc.gov.au/market-reviews/completed.html
The Clean Energy Council has released the results from the most comprehensive survey on wind energy conducted in the last 5 years. The results show very high support for wind power, with 75% of those polled from regional communities around wind farms.
Key findings include:
Here's what people living close to wind farms say:
'The Road put in by the wind farm developer gives us much better access to our property which has improved our stock management practices and bushfire access.'
'The wind farm opened up a door to vegetation offset—existing scrub is now protected, conserved for the future.'
'A job with a wind farm means I stay locally.'
To view the Clean Energy Council reports in full please go to: www.cleanenergycouncil.org.au/cec/resourcecentre/reports
Visitors to our Information Centre have lots of questions about the proposed Rugby Wind Farm and wind energy in general. We plan to answer the most common questions as part of our regular Rugby Wind Farm Project Update in this newspaper.
An important consideration when planning a wind farm layout is the possible impacts on local flora and fauna.
The project design must:
In developing the Rugby Wind Farm, through careful design and thorough planning, we are aiming to protect and enhance remnant native vegetation as well as ensuring that the proposed wind farm accommodates current and future farming practices in the area. If some impact is unavoidable, we are required to minimise impacts, and balance any unavoidable impact to the area. This is achieved through revegetation programs.
World Environment Day celebrated its 12th anniversary this year on the 5th of June. To find out more visit: www.unep.org/wed
lobal Wind Day a worldwide event occurring annually on the 15th June is fast approaching. To find out about an event close to you, or for more about the day visit: www.globalwindday.org/about-wind-day
The Rugby Wind Farm project team announced this week that a scaled-down Rugby wind farm is now proposed, with 36 fewer turbines. The decision to remove turbines is in response to extensive consultation with the local community and the release of the draft NSW wind farm planning guidelines.
The proposed wind farm will still deliver significant benefits to the local community, including:
The project will also support achievement of the NSW Government’s aim to see 20% of electricity used in the State come from renewable energy.
The Rugby Wind Farm project team is finalising the Draft Environmental Assessment Report for review by the NSW Department of Planning and Infrastructure before the project is exhibited publicly. Members of the community will then be able to make formal submissions on the proposed wind farm during the Public Exhibition Period.
The full announcement is available here.
Updated maps of the revised layout are available here.
The first meeting of the Rugby Wind Farm Community Consultative Committee was held this week. Minutes from each meeting will be made available on our website.
Visitors to our Information Centre have lot of questions about the proposed Rugby Wind Farm and wind energy in general. We will continue to answer the most common questions in our regular project update
Roads and infrastructure are an important part of a wind farm. The company constructing the wind farm is responsible for making sure that roads and intersections inside the project boundary are maintained and where necessary upgraded. Roads outside the wind farm boundary that are used as transport routes are also the responsibility of the company and must be reinstated if they are damaged during the construction process Dilapidation studies, which assess the prior condition of roads and intersections outside the wind farm, are undertaken before construction commences. At the conclusion of the wind farm's construction phase, further dilapidation studies are carried out. Roads that have been damaged as a result of the wind farm construction process must be reinstated to their original condition.
We would like to thank everyone who took the time to apply to be a member of the Community Consultative Committee.
Letters of acceptance have now been sent out to the successful applicants.
The team had a great time at Boorowa Central School ‘Careers 4 all day’ and we would like to thank both the schools and the students who attended. If you or a family member is interested in gaining more information about a career in the wind Industry contact Richard Harvey, REpower’s Learning and Development Manager at: firstname.lastname@example.org or on: (03) 8660 6597
The Rugby Project team wishes you and your family a safe and Happy Easter for 2012.
Members of the Rugby Project Team have continued to travel around the Rugby and Boorowa region to meet with individuals and households to discuss the proposed Rugby Wind Farm.
The people we have met with have been interested to see the proposed layout and to discuss all the considerations that go into designing a wind farm, including how we are making sure that local amenity is protected.
During the meetings, we are often asked about how the NSW Government’s Draft NSW Planning Guidelines: Wind Farms may affect the proposed Rugby Wind Farm. We will continue to work with Government to ensure that the project complies with the Guidelines as they evolve.
Each of these meetings is an opportunity for members of the local community to give us feedback about the proposed layout, which will help shape the final project design.
There will be lots of opportunities for community members to continue to provide input into the Rugby Wind Farm project. Members of the Project Team will continue to be available to meet with individuals directly, and we are also happy to answer questions at our Information Centre, or via our email or information line.
Please feel free to contact us directly to organise an individual meeting or to ask us about the project.
In addition, when we have finalised the project design, the NSW planning system requires that the proposed wind farm go through a Public Exhibition period where members of the community will have the opportunity to make formal submissions.
We welcome the interest shown in the Community Consultative Committee and would like to thank everyone who applied.
We are currently reviewing all the applications received and will be in contact with applicants directly in the coming weeks to finalise Committee membership and to organise the first meeting.
Safety is an important consideration in the design and operation of a wind farm.
The Rugby Wind Farm will comply with all air safety regulations which includes notifying relevant authorities about the height and location of met masts and wind turbines.
A qualitative risk assessment of aviation activity has been completed for the Rugby Wind Farm which concluded that obstacle lighting would not be required.
In addition, potential impacts on aerial applications, such as aerial agricultural spraying and fire fighting must be identified before a wind farm proposal is approved.
As part of the project design process, the Rugby Wind Farm Project team is reviewing potential impacts on agricultural spraying of nearby grazing or cropping areas.
In the event of a bush fire, the wind farm will be shut down to reduce any impact on aerial fire fighting activities. Internal access roads constructed for the Rugby Wind Farm will also ensure improved ground access for any fire fighting activities.
A fact sheet about the Rugby Wind Farm and aviation is available here.
Applications to join the Rugby Community Consultative Committee close 9th March. Please contact us directly for further information.
Visitors to our Information Centre have lots of questions about the proposed Rugby Wind Farm and wind energy in general. We will be answering the most common questions in our regular project updates.
Despite the absence of robust, credible and scientific evidence, some wind farm opponents continue to claim that wind farms are a health hazard.
The National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) is Australia's peak body for developing health advice for the Australian community.
In its 2010 report, “Wind Turbines and Health: A rapid review of the evidence” the NHMRC found that:
"There are no direct pathological effects from wind farms and any potential impact on humans can be minimised by following existing planning guidelines."
In its subsequent Public Statement on Wind Farms and Health released in August 2011, the NHMRC stated:
"There is currently no published scientific evidence to positively link wind turbines with adverse health effects."
NSW has among the strictest standards for wind farm development in the world, ensuring that wind farms do not pose a risk to health in terms of noise, shadow flicker, blade glint and electromagnetic fields.
A fact sheet on wind farms and health is available from here.
Applications to join the Rugby Community Consultative Committee close 9th March. Please contact us if you are interested in learning more about the Committee.
The Rugby Wind Farm project team is calling for Expressions of Interest from stakeholders from the Rugby and Boorowa regions who are interested in participating in a Community Consultative Committee.
The purpose of the Committee is to provide a forum for open discussion between the project team, the community, the council and other stakeholders on issues directly relating to the assessment and operation of the Rugby Wind Farm.
We are pleased to announce that the Rugby Wind Farm Information Centre has moved to 21 Marsden Street Boorowa (formerly Carmody’s Newsagency).
The Information Centre is run by locals Lisa Cotter and Matthew Smith who share a passion for clean energy.
Please drop by the Information Centre if you have any questions about the project or wind energy more broadly, or contact us to make an appointment outside of opening hours.
An interactive map of the wind farm is now available.
Members of our team will be travelling around Boorowa over the coming weeks to continue to consult with people who live close to the proposed wind farm. Please call or email us if you want to meet with a member of our team.
The NSW Government has released draft NSW Planning Guidelines for Wind Farms. The Rugby Wind Farm project team will continue to monitor Government policy as it evolves to ensure that the Rugby Wind Farm complies with all relevant standards.
A high resolution A3 map shows the latest draft wind farm design.