Westwind Energy will use geographic and 3D modeling tools to create the proposed layout of a $ 750 million wind farm project in Victoria.
The private company was also behind the Mt Mercer and Lal Lal wind farms. All three are located within 30 kilometers of Ballarat.
Moorabool, the company’s latest wind project, offered 128 two-megawatt wind turbines, giving it an installed capacity of 256 MW.
The wind farm was expected to be able to generate 784 GWh of electricity each year, enough to power around 147,000 Victorian homes.
Planning and policy guidelines for wind power installations in Victoria have forced would-be builders “to go through much more rigorous planning. [processes] than any other industry, ”said Adam Gray, Westwind Project Development Engineer iTnews.
The site development plans were created in three stages – initial, indicative and proposed.
The indicative provision was a modification of the original provision which incorporated constraints set by various stakeholders.
The constraints could be the result of data inputs from consultants in engineering, geotechnics, flora, fauna, atmospheric and acoustic modeling. The data was used to assess potential issues, including the noise impact of turbines on residential areas and grid interconnection.
Only the proposed development has been submitted to the external approval of the town planning.
Wind farms of less than 30 megawatts of capacity are approved by local government authorities. Those above 30 megawatts are believed to be of state significance and automatically routed to the state’s Minister of Planning for approval.
“The process from conception to [planning] approval could take one to five years, ”said Gray.
Westwind switched to ESRI’s ArcView geographic information system tool to create the proposed layout for the Lal Lal wind farm in 2007.
The company plans to use the same tool on the Moorabool project, but for all three stages of the layout.
Westwind used basic GPS tools, including OziExplorer, for Lal Lal’s initial and indicative maps. That changed when Gray was employed halfway through the project.
Gray said he was exposed to ESRI Australia at the Department of Defense. He also looked at open source alternatives, including Grass GIS.
“At the time, my level of understanding of open source was low,” said Gray.
“If I knew more about software programming it might be something to dig into, but it would have involved changing the operating systems here. [to Linux] which was indeed too difficult, ”he said, given the limited time he had to submit the Lal Lal plan for state government approval.
Gray said the benefits of ESRI Australia were being able to “import data from multiple sources, aggregate it and present it in a visual format that makes it easy for state planning teams to understand what for. we are applying “.