Tasmania’s Cattle Hill wind farm has started sending power to the grid, with the first turbine of the 144MW project connected to the Tasmanian transmission network and generating electricity.
Goldwind Managing Director John Titchen said the milestone was marked in an official ceremony on Friday at the site, where 33 of 48 Goldwind turbines have been fully installed.
The central highlands wind farm also has 16 IdentiFlight stations installed across the site that will detect Tasmanian Wedge-tailed Eagles and shut down nearby turbines as needed.
Cattle Hill is Australia’s first wind farm to trial the innovative eagle monitoring and detection technology, which has now started operating in earnest with the first turbines.
As we noted in September, when initial trials of the technology were conducted at Cattle Hill, the sudden uptick in planned wind farms in Australia’s island state – to be built in connection with the battery of the nation project – has prompted Birdlife Tasmania to call for a strategic approach to all wind projects from both state and federal governments.
Goldwind Australia managing director John Kitchen said the project team had faced a number of logistical and environmental challenges during the wind farm’s construction, including bushfire, significant snow and wind, and scheduling of works to minimise disturbance during eagle breeding season.
On top of this, approximately 528 oversize loads of wind turbine components had to be safely transported to the project site.
“The highly focussed team, with high levels of communication with project stakeholders, have met and overcome these challenges with positivity and little impact to the overall project schedule,” he said.
Titchen said around 150 jobs had been created during the construction period on site as well as additional offsite work from Tasmanian project partners, including Hazell Bros, who did construction of the civil and electric works for the project.
“When fully operational, the Cattle Hill Wind Farm will generate enough clean energy to power the equivalent of approximately 63,500 Tasmanian homes each year,” Titchen said.
“Significantly, the project will help the Tasmanian government reach its goal of an additional 1,000- gigawatt hours of on-island renewable energy by the end of 2022, contributing around half of the additional generation needed.”
In July, when the project’s first turbine was completed, Tasmania energy minister Guy Barnett said Cattle Hill was a significant development in the Battery of the Nation Plan and the state and federal Liberal government’s $86 million investment in that plan and Project Marinus – plans to build a second interconnector linking Tasmania to the mainland Australian grid.
Just last week, a state and federal government backed report found that the incterconnecter project was eminently feasible, and had the potential to unlock up to $5 billion in new renewables investments, but only if the rest of the NEM keeps up a fast pace of clean energy transition.