The $3b Golden Plains Wind Farm project in Victoria will be Australia’s largest wind farm and will provide over 4000 GWh of clean renewable energy to 765,000 homes.
Golden Plains Wind Farm is a landmark clean energy project based in Victoria, Australia. The $3 billion project will include 215 turbines on 16,739 hectares of land to the west, south and south-east of Rokewood township. The site is about 60 kilometres north-west of Geelong and primarily utilizes agricultural land for extensive cropping and livestock grazing activities.
With an installed capacity exceeding 1,330 MW, the turbines at the Golden Plains Wind Farm are set to generate over 4,000 GWh of renewable energy annually. Being on the largest wind farms in the Southern Hemisphere, it will provide substantial environmental benefits, including significant reductions in carbon emissions and clean energy to approximately 765,000 homes.
Golden Plains Wind Farm Project Scope
Golden Plains Wind Farm will be a 1.3-gigawatt wind farm with a 300-megawatt-hour battery storage system across Rokewood, Victoria. Each turbine will have a height of 230m and a diameter of up to 165m for the wind turbine rotor.
Apart from constructing wind turbines and towers, the project includes foundations, powerlines, underground cables, collection stations, a terminal station, and necessary infrastructure such as temporary quarry and access tracks.
The renewable energy project involves constructing:
- 215 turbines
- Four substations across the area
- 150km of internal access roads around the surrounding area
- Up to six permanent meteorological masts
- A terminal substation that connects to the 500-kilovolt transmission line in Melbourne-Portland
- A quarry for producing crushed rock products required for the renewable project
Golden Plains Wind Farm sections
The project is split into two stages – Golden Plains Wind Farm East and Golden Plains Wind Farm West.
Golden Plains Wind Farm East
Golden Plains Wind Farm East is funded and owned by TagEnergy (85%) and Ingka Group (15%). Vestas, a sustainable technology and turbine supplier, was awarded the engineering, procurement and construction contract. WSP was recently appointed as the Independent Certifier for the wind farm project.
The Eastern section of the Golden Plains Wind Farm will have 122 wind turbines at a height of 230m. This section includes advanced infrastructure such as underground cabling and electricity collection stations, ensuring efficient transmission of the generated wind energy.
Currently, 74 foundation pours have been completed, 186 turbine components have been delivered to the site, 14 turbines are under construction and 11% of circuit cabling is now installed.
After construction works finish, it will have an installed capacity of 756 MW and power approximately 450,000 homes across Victoria.
Construction for Golden Plains Wind Farm East commenced in 2023 and is expected to complete in 2026. The first stage is expected to start producing green energy in 2024, and all major works will be completed in the second half of 2025.
Golden Plains Wind Farm West
The Western section of Goldens Plains Wind Farm will have an installed capacity of approximately 574 MW and provide clean energy to over 315,000 homes.
Golden Plains Wind Farm West is owned and developed by WestWind Energy, construction will begin in 2024.
This section is equipped with an array of 94 wind turbines and other infrastructure tailored to suit the western area’s specific wind patterns and geographical features.
Golden Plains Wind Farm environmental considerations
The Golden Plains Wind Farm project offers several environmental benefits. It significantly reduces greenhouse gas emissions, replacing fossil fuel-based energy generation with wind-powered electricity.
Building the Golden Plains Wind Farm is expected to prevent more than 4.5 million tonnes of carbon dioxide from being released into the atmosphere annually. It will help meet Victoria’s ambitious 95% renewable energy target by 2035 and net zero emissions by 2045.
This shift not only combats climate change but also improves air quality by reducing pollutants like sulphur dioxide and nitrogen oxides, leading to healthier public health outcomes.
Wind farms are designed to coexist harmoniously with agricultural land, ensuring efficient dual-use of resources without disrupting farming and grazing activities. Furthermore, wind farms like Golden Plains are advantageous as they do not require water for cooling, thus conserving vital water resources.
While careful planning is necessary to mitigate impacts on local wildlife and habitats, the project poses a substantially lower risk to ecosystems and promotes a cleaner environment, which indirectly supports biodiversity.
The Golden Plains Wind Farm stands out for its efficient land use, coexisting seamlessly with ongoing agricultural activities. It is integrated into the existing landscape, predominantly used for broad-acre cropping and livestock grazing, allowing the land to maintain its agricultural productivity alongside the renewable energy infrastructure.
Golden Plains Wind Farm benefits
A significant benefit of the renewable energy project is its positive impact on Australia’s economy. Approximately 700 jobs will be created across two stages of the project. This involves technical roles such as engineering and construction, maintenance, and administrative roles.
Upon completion, 70 direct renewables jobs will be expected to be created to maintain the Golden Plains Wind Farm project. This influx of employment opportunities stimulates local economies to boost communities, especially in rural areas around Victoria.
The Golden Plains Wind Farm contributes to energy security and reliability in the region. Adding a significant amount of renewable energy to the grid reduces dependence on imported fuels and helps diversify the energy mix. This diversification is crucial for energy security, as it reduces the risk associated with over-reliance on a single energy source and ensures a more stable and reliable energy supply.
This project also drives technological innovation in the renewable energy sector. Large-scale projects such as Golden Plains Wind Farm often push the boundaries of existing technology, leading to advancements in wind turbine design, energy storage solutions, and grid integration techniques.
These innovations improve the efficiency and effectiveness of wind energy and contribute to the overall growth of the renewable energy industry.
Golden Plains Wind Farm Community Engagement and Programs
The Golden Plains Wind Farm project has embarked on community funding projects and engagement programs to foster strong partnerships with residents. Numerous projects have been launched, such as the Community Grants Program, the Educational Program, the Community Reference Group, the Community Energy Program, the Financial Incentive Program for Neighbors, the Landscaping Program and the Community Investment Program.
Click here to find more information regarding community engagement and programs.
The residents living in Rokewood recognise the Golden Plains Wind Farm project’s potential to benefit the local area in numerous ways. With more younger families moving to the rural town, it will benefit local schools and community groups through increased quality. In the face of challenges such as droughts and rising input and fuel costs on farms, the wind farm offers a semblance of security to the local farmers. This also applies to local businesses and enhances economic activity in the town.
Golden Plains Wind Farm completed works and project status
In 2023, approximately 105 wind turbine sites were excavated, 80 blindings were completed, and 79 sets of anchor cages were installed for the Eastern section. Also, steel reinforcement were installed in 75 foundations, 74 foundations pours were completed, and 56 foundations were backfilled.
All the major components for nine turbines are already on-site, and additional components are ready to be transported to the main site. Also, major progress has also been achieved on the substations and switchyards required for the project.
More wind turbines will be constructed, and the first transmission lines will be installed in June 2024. Once all substations and collector circuits have been completed, the project will start to commission the first turbines.
Construction will begin for the Golden Plains Wind Farm West section in roughly 2024, as all pre-construction approvals and grid connection agreements have nearly been completed.
The Golden Plains Wind Farm project will be a significant renewable energy generator for Victoria and symbolizes a significant leap towards a sustainable future. Once construction is completed for both sections of the clean energy project, it will provide numerous environmental benefits and an economic boost. It will operate for 30 years once the Golden Plains Wind Farm is complete and power up to 750,000 homes across the region.
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Source: © WestWind Energy 2018 – 2024
Image Source: © Infrastructure Partnerships Australia 2024
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