Valley of the Winds is an 800-megawatt wind farm in the early stages of planning. The project will be situated south of the township of Coolah in the Warrumbungle Shire, extending towards the Golden Highway. The undulating terrain in that area allows for the wind turbines to be sited on ridgelines within cleared land that is currently being used for livestock grazing.
Up to 148 wind turbines are being proposed across three clusters named Mount Hope, Girragulang Road and Leadville. These clusters will be linked electrically, allowing for approximately 2,900,000 megawatt hours of clean renewable energy to be generated each year.
The wind turbines will have a maximum tip height of 250 metres with underground electricity cabling connecting each turbine to an electricity substation. Gravel access tracks will link the wind turbines and all ancillary infrastructure within private property.
A high voltage transmission line will be required to connect the central substation to the National Electricity Market (NEM) allowing the electricity generated from Valley of the Winds to provide a secure and reliable supply of electricity to NSW, and beyond. An energy battery storage facility is also being considered for the project.
Valley of the Winds is in the early stage of planning works. It will be assessed as a State Significant Development under Part 4 of the NSW Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 (the Act).
The NSW Department of Planning and Environment (DPE) is the state planning authority for the project. The Act requires a preliminary scoping report to be prepared and submitted to DPE. Following submission of the scoping report DPE will prepare and issue the Secretary’s Environmental Assessment Requirements (SEAR’s). A range of assessments will be carried out in line with these requirements, together making up the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the project. The EIS will cover all facets of the project impact, from environmental through to social.
Approval will also be sought from the Commonwealth through the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act (EPBC Act).
The project is expected to be constructed over a four year period.
The project site is situated in the Central Western Tablelands Region of NSW, within the Warrumbungle Shire between the rural township of Coolah and the Golden Highway.
It will be located within the Central-West Orana Renewable Energy Zone, recently identified by the NSW Government.
Current farming practices such as livestock grazing will continue next to the wind turbines, continuing the region’s close agricultural connection with the land while also allowing the generation of clean renewable energy for the people of NSW.
Wind power technology
Electricity is generated by highly aerodynamic wind turbine blades being propelled by the natural power of the wind. The blades rotate a central drive shaft which is geared and feeds into an electrical generator within the turbine nacelle. This action produces electricity which is transported via electrical cables, much like an extension cord, to a substation.
The substation transforms the electricity to a higher voltage, allowing it to be sent directly to the national grid to be used by homes and businesses.
On-site wind monitoring, as well as developments in wind turbine technology will help determine the final type of turbines to be used at the Valley of the Winds.
According to the Clean Energy Council, wind power is currently the cheapest source of large-scale renewable energy in Australia. In 2018, Australia’s wind farms produced 33.5 per cent of the country’s clean energy and 7.1 per cent of the country’s total electricity generation.
Wind energy investment is now more than $8 billion in Australia, helping to create about 5,000 jobs. Wind power is an important energy source that will help Australia meet its national and international commitments to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions.
Electricity transmission networks
High voltage transmission networks are an essential link in the safe and reliable supply of electricity to homes and businesses throughout Australia.
Transmission lines transport electricity from generators to substations that then transform the electricity to an appropriate voltage for distribution to homes and businesses throughout the state.
We are investigating options to link a new substation within the wind farm boundary, to the existing 500kV transmission line.
Steel pole or lattice towers connecting the wires are typically no more than 60m high and spaced approximately 400 metres apart. Planning and design of the line is currently underway
Transmission line route
The transmission line route is determined by considering a range of technical, environmental, planning, social, visual and economic factors in consultation with regulators, the local community and landowners.
UPC\AC Renewables Australia is committed to working closely with potential landowners and their neighbours on the exact location of easements and wherever possible the design and structure of the transmission infrastructure.
We would undertake comprehensive desktop and field studies to assess the environmental and social impacts of any proposed transmission line and work with landowners and neighbours to understand their views and preferences.