In addition to the turbines, wind farms are made up of a number of components to support the generation and transmission of electricity to consumers.
Each turbine is normally connected via a network of high voltage underground cables. The network cables and overhead feeders are constructed to efficiently transfer power from the turbines to the wind farm substation, then to the national grid.
The substation collects the electricity produced by each turbine and transforms this from lower internal voltage to the higher voltages of the nearby transmission network. The substation collects the electricity produced by each turbine and transforms this from lower internal voltage to the higher voltages of the nearby transmission network. The substation is normally connected to the transmission line by a high voltage overhead transmission line. The substation is usually co-located with the operations and maintenance facility of the wind farm.
Wind farms have a fibre optic communications network installed between each major component. This network allows a SCADA (Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition) system to be installed. SCADA systems are used to monitor and control nearly every component of the wind farm. SCADA will allow control of the wind farm either onsite or remotely (e.g. REpower Australia provides 24/7 monitoring of wind farms across Australia via its control room in Melbourne).
Access roads need to be built to each turbine location to allow for construction and maintenance. These are 6 to 8 metres wide and carefully designed to allow heavy loads to be transported around the site. A typical wind farm only uses about 2% of the actual land area within a wind farm. Access roads are available for use by farmers which often provides valuable access to parts of the land previously difficult to get to.
Located next to each turbine, crane pads are cleared and level areas suitable for operating a large crane. The typical size of a crane pad is 28m x 45m. Cranes use these platforms during the erection and installation of each turbine.