Hepburn wind farm nears completion

While Governments and business have been slow to progress action on climate change some communities are putting their money into action by financing and establishing community owned and operated utility scale wind farms. Hepburn Wind is arguably the first Australian community owned wind farm located at Leonards Hill, near the town of Daylesford in central Victoria. When completed this year its two wind turbines, each producing 2 megawatts power for the grid, will supply enough for 2,300 homes, most of the demand generated in the Daylesford and Hepburn Springs area.

Related: Residents consider community owned wind farm for the New England region

Initial discussions and planning for the community owned Hepburn Wind Farm started in 2005, but ran into some issues raising the $20 million finance capital from the community as the Global Financial Crisis hit. A bank loan secured the final financial security for the project to proceed, and orders were placed for the turbines, nacelles and blades from RePower AG in Germany. Nearly 1600 people have chosen to invest in this community owned resource, which will provide carbon free energy and return dividends over the life of the project to community investors and also fund assistance to local community projects.

Construction at the Leonards Hill site started on 8 October, 2010. Foundations for the two turbines were poured in January and early February, while the towers were being fabricated by Keppel Price Engineering in Portland, Victoria. Keppel Engineering is now the largest manufacturer of wind turbine towers in the country. The tower manufacturing division currently employs 150 jobs, and with several wind farms entering a construction phase business is booming.

Last week 239 tons of cargo from REpower in Germany, comprising 2 nacelles, 2 hubs, 6 blades and a container of support equipment was unloaded at Appleton dock from the cargo ship 'SE Panthea'. The turbines will undergo inspection and possible modification to ensure they fully comply with Australian standards before travelling to Leonards Hill for installation.

It won't be long before the residents of Daylesford will be drawing green wind power to replace some of the demand from the large CO2 polluting brown coal power stations in the La Trobe valley.

Other community owned wind farm projects in Australia include the Denmark Community Windfarm in Western Australia initiated in 2003 and slowly progressing to construction phase. The Mount Barker wind farm, also in the south western corner of Western Australia, is currently under construction and is 70 per cent owned by the great southern community. It will consist of 3 turbines each with a capacity of 0.8MW and will produce enough energy to power homes in Mount Barker. And most recently, the initiation of a community owned wind farm in the New England Region.

* Hepburn Wind
* Denmark Community Windfarm (WA)
* Wind power and wind farms in Australia
* Starfish Enterprises Network - Seeing the Winds of Change
* Photo of Toora wind farm on the south coast of Victoria by David Clarke via Flickr



The wind farm at Hepburn will wipe out the purple crested orange knacker bagged sparrows that is only found around the Hepburn area it is so low in numbers that most people have not heard of it.

I hope all you Greenies are happy our children will not get a chance to see such a bird shame on you all !!!!!

Hilarious. There b'ain't no such bird. Small birds by and large have no difficulty dodging wind turbine blades; turbines in some locations have killed large raptors and bats, but mitigation of the problem is quite easy (especially if you don't choose sites which raptors and bats favour).

Compared with the tremendous avian death toll from cats (domestic and feral), cars, suspended electrical wires, and building windows, wind turbines are pretty innocuous.

It is not only about the depreciation of a hill, but also about sooner or later sacrificing a mountain for a pumped power station to compensate for the failure to decentralise electrical circuits. Wind is sometimes erratic, and centralised exploitation accumulates the incalculability rather than balancing it. Instead of putting up yet another precarious monoculture, reasonably sized windmills should be located where the energy is needed, and the grid be reduced to the role of a supplement.

Pumped hydro power storage is cheap, but may soon be a thing of the past.


So Xoddam you think that:
"Pumped hydro power storage is cheap"
Well mate if you believe that all I can suggest is that you keep taking what ever it is you're on.


Pumped hydro typically has a capital cost of between $500 and $2000 per kW generation capacity. At the low end this is comparable to "peaking" open-cycle gas turbines, and at the high end it is comparable to large-scale coal-fired steam turbines. The ultimate cost, and the capacity of the storage, depends on geography of course.

I consider pumped hydro storage to be cheap because its economics have led it to be deployed at large scale for decades. It has been considered worthwhile since the 1920s merely to reduce the need for spare thermal generation capacity at peak times. Pumped storage for a particular power capacity is often cheaper than thermal (coal) generation of the same capacity, in other words.

Other electricity storage technologies such as batteries, compressed air, ultracapacitors and flywheels, are also economically useful in off-grid or grid-stability applications, but cost tens of times as much per unit of energy stored. Pumped storage is (to date) the only electricity storage technology which can economically substitute for additional capital investment in generators.

Other forms of energy storage (eg. foregone generation from a natural head of water, and of course in the form of fuel) are obviously cheaper, but they don't store electric power once it has been generated.

The Isentropic technology does store electric power, potentially at a competitive price with pumped storage and even OCGTs, but without the geographical constraints.

Without wanting to put too finer point on it, unless the topography is favourable, pumped storage is prohibitively expensive. As a concept it's great and I certainly support its rational application, but here in Australia we have few undeveloped sites that stack up when subjected to a rational cost benefit analysis.
Furthermore unless off-peak pumping by backed-off thermal is accepted as a given (which I suspect may be anathema to some) then the economics of pumped storage become even more problematic from the viewpoint of rational economics.

Hi Bob,
it is funny how defensive you become instead of asking Xoddam to elaborate on why he thinks it is cheap, you get all ego defensive. Why must you behave like this?

See I told you most people have not heard of this bird

No Sean, it really doesn't exist.