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Wind farm’s a windfall

More than AUD$1million (USD$793,300) has been paid out to the owners of the land on which Acciona’s 128 wind turbines operate, in a country town in southeastern Australia.

The Waubra wind farm, located about 145km (92 miles) northwest of Melbourne, is spread out over a 170sq km (65 sq miles) land area.

One of many turbines laid out across the dry landscape of the wind farm

A section of the sprawling wind farm in Waubra, Australia.

The farm’s Cameron Stowe says each of the 1.5MW wind turbine generators deliver about AUD $1000 a year to landowners who are generally crop or livestock farmers. That’s equivalent to USD$792 or €680.

The 192MW capacity farm was completed in 2009, after a capital investment of $450 million.

Mr Stowe says local residents are employed at the farm that can power the equivalent of up to 110,000 residential homes in nearby regional cities of Ballarat and Bendigo.

He says one of Acciona’s new projects is a 132MW or 44 turbine wind farm at Mt Gellibrand, about 130km (82 miles) south of Waubra and 143km (88 miles) from Melbourne. It is expected the new wind farm will be completed in July next year – a welcome development for the state where one of its longest serving brown coal-fired power plants, the Hazelwood power station, was closed by its French owners, Engie.

The Green Herald Editor Caroline Gonzalez toured the Acciona Waubra Farm earlier this year in an excursion organised by the Melbourne Energy Students Association (MESA) from the University of Melbourne, where she’s been studying climate change.

Caroline Gonzalez, The Green Herald Founder, Writer and Editor, on location at the wind farm

Caroline Gonzalez, The Green Herald Founder, Writer and Editor, on location.