Land Owners

Landowners

Relying on the burning of coal to generate electricity is not sustainable. We must embrace cleaner, sustainable technologies to protect our environment, our community and our economy. Wind is one such technology. Australia has a world-class wind resource, along with an abundance of wide open spaces.

Using wind energy is not a new concept; humans have been harnessing the wind for centuries.  Australian farmers know only too well the potential and value of wind energy as they have been using windmills to pump water for a long time.

Naturally, wind farms are located where they are exposed to wind – typically, in elevated or open areas. Ideally wind farms are located near the population centres that use the electricity so that it is not diminished by transport over long distances.

One of the concerns people have about wind farms is their visual impact. A wind farm can be visually dominant in the landscape but like every large infrastructure project, they are subject to strict planning controls. Wind turbines need to be appropriately sited and the farms sensitively developed.

While many people will benefit indirectly from the clean electricity and economic growth brought about by wind farm development, farmers can benefit directly.  Once the wind farm is in operation, it can provide an important economic boost to farmers. It enables farmers to secure supplementary income annually, for decades, through lease arrangements with the wind farm operator for each wind turbine or related infrastructure that is installed on their land. This annual supplementary income can provide a stable addition to the farmer’s income and help them counteract swings of commodity prices and ‘drought proof’ their farms.

By partnering with WestWind Energy there are no financial costs to you to be able to receive supplementary income. WestWind Energy takes on the development costs and once the wind farm is constructed you will benefit from the partnership and on-going income for decades.

Once a wind farm is in operation, it does not significantly affect the existing operation of a farm and animals graze normally around the wind turbines.  There are no effects on stock nor credible reports of decreases in productivity.

On average the area taken up by the wind farm is less than one percent of the land area of the average farm and most of this is for access tracks that are free to use by the host landowner.  Where possible, WestWind Energy makes use of existing access tracks on a site, improving and upgrading these where possible, and will construct any new access tracks in locations that minimise the disruption to agricultural working practices.   Furthermore, interconnecting cabling between the turbines are made via underground cables to an electrical substation. These cables are normally buried 1m below the surface and routed to follow the access tracks so that agricultural working practices are not compromised.

During the operational phase, there are requirements to access the land for maintenance and repairs.  Modern wind farms are fully automatic, continually reconfiguring themselves to extract the most energy out of the prevailing wind conditions, and are managed using remote telemetry.  As with all mechanical and electrical equipment regular maintenance is required, and wind turbines are no exception.  In some cases, unscheduled maintenance and repairs can also be required. Where possible every effort is made to schedule the maintenance and repairs to minimise any disruption to the farmer.

Wind farms are operational for about 25 years, after which they are either pulled down completely (decommissioned) or replaced with new wind turbines (repowered). Regulations require that a wind farm is dismantled if they cease operation for an extended period of time. The wind farm site is then returned as close to its original state as possible to allow for the proper agricultural use of the land as it existed prior to the wind farm.

To hear from people who live with wind farms each day, watch the video to your right.

If you would like to explore the potential of having a wind farm on your land, please contact us at WestWind Energy on (03) 5421 9999.

The Way The Wind Blows

Landowner Process

For a wind farm project to become a success it is crucial that the landowners and WestWind Energy work together collaboratively and harmoniously. The landowners will be asked to support the planning application where appropriate, which requires open communication as well as providing access to the land when required.

Below is an outline of the different stages of the development process from site selection through to construction and operation. For your benefit we have picked out the areas that you may be asked to get involved with along the way.

  • Site Selection and Formalise Relationship with Landowners

    (Requires Landowners Involvement)
    Once a potential site has been identified, we will get in touch with relevant landowners to formalise an agreement to allow us to conduct investigations into the viability of developing a wind farm on the landowners’ land.

  • Site Verification and Environmental Studies

    (Requires Landowners Involvement)
    If a site is selected as being potentially suitable for a wind farm a range of consultations and feasibility studies will be carried out by experienced specialists. These studies included wind speed assessment, cultural and heritage, and environmental impact assessment studies (e.g. ecology, ornithology, archaeology, hydrology, geology, noise, landscape and visual impact, transport and aviation).

  • Planning Approvals Process

    (Requires Landowners Involvement)
    A detailed planning application, including the Environmental Statement, will be submitted to the local authorities for determination. During this process, liaison with the public and key stakeholders will continue while the local authorities considers the proposals.

  • Grid Connection Process

    Once a potential site has been identified, we will get in touch with relevant landowners to formalise an agreement to allow us to conduct investigations into the viability of developing a wind farm on the landowners’ land.

  • Financing

    Financing is then sought to provide the funding to construct a wind farm. Additional finance can be raised through equity fundraising, bank finance, joint ventures with wind turbine manufacturers or a combination of these. WestWind Energy have strategic partners who have the above mentioned capabilities to raise the financing required for construction.

  • Construction

    (Requires Landowners Involvement)
    There are a huge range of turbine designs, building contractors and energy suppliers to choose from, so it is important at the beginning of the construction process, to carefully select the right combination for the site. Once all these have been finalised, construction work can begin. Construction of a wind farm usually takes between 12-24 months depending on the size of the development.

  • Operation

    Once fully operational, it only takes a small team to run and maintain the wind farm. The wind farm can remain running, producing clean and renewable energy for more than 25 years.