Cullerin Range Wind Farm, Australia

Cullerin Range wind farm is located 30km from Goulburn in southern New South Wales (NSW), Australia. The 30MW wind farm can generate electricity that is sufficient to power 15,000 homes.

Origin Energy is the owner and operator of the wind farm. The wind farm was built with an investment of $79.7m and became fully operational in July 2009. It has a capacity factor of 44%.

The wind farm was originally proposed by EPURON, a leading developer and financer of wind projects. The proposal was approved by the NSW Department of Planning in February 2007. EPURON sold the development rights of the project to Origin Energy in 2008.

Cullerin Range is Origin Energy’s first owned and operated wind farm. It is an important part of Origin Energy’s strategy for energy generation in the future.
The wind farm is also the first significant project to commence operations in NSW. It helps in lowering NSW’s greenhouse gas emissions by avoiding 100,000t of carbon annually.

Wind farm and turbine details

“Cullerin Range wind farm is located 30km from Goulburn in southern New South Wales (NSW), Australia.”
The wind farm is located on the Cullerin Range which rises 100m above the nearby areas. It runs along the Great Dividing Range.

The wind farm occupies an area of 4.5ha and consists of 15 wind turbines rated at 2MW each. The turbines are located along a 3.5km segment of the range. Each turbine features three blades, which are 46m long with an up-wind design.

The nacelle includes the generator, gearbox and control gear. The nacelles are equipped with sensors to identify wind speed and direction.

The turbines have been erected on 80m high towers and anchored to the ground with reinforced concrete footings. The towers were assembled in three sections at the site. The turbine towers and foundations feature an earthing design that protects the turbines from lightning strikes. Total height of the turbines is about 126m. The wind farm can shut itself down if required.

Each turbine is connected to a substation located on site through underground cabling. The turbines have a design life of 20 to 30 years, after which they will be removed or recommissioned.

Construction of Cullerin Range wind farm

Construction of the wind farm began in 2008 and by February 2009 civil works were completed. The construction activities had to be carried out in cold climatic conditions. The site included steep access and rocky terrain, which required additional planning and posed challenges to construction.

Equipment used in the site work included a D9 Dozer, 30t excavators, Vermeer Rocksaw and crusher units. Off-road dump trucks, off-road water carts, compactors and graders were also used.
Commissioning of the wind farm was carried out between May and early July 2009. More than 100 people were involved in the construction.

Grid network

Electricity generated by the wind farm is exported to the 132kV Goulburn to Yass distribution line. The line passes through the northern part of the site and is operated by Country Energy in which Origin Energy owns 51.4% interest.

Contractors playing a part in Origin Energy’s wind farm project

CATCON and Areva T&D were responsible for the design and construction of the concrete bases of the turbines and installation of the cable network.
“Origin Energy is the owner and operator of the wind farm. The wind farm was built with an investment of $79.7m.”

They were also responsible for constructing the road and hardstand network, civil works for the substation and overall site management.
REpower supplied the wind turbines for the project. It supplied eight MM82 model turbines and seven MM92 model turbines. REpower is also responsible for servicing the turbines. It subcontracted Keppel Prince to fabricate sections for 15 wind towers for the wind farm.

Hill Michael provided the strategic technical design for the project. SKM Consulting provided project management and technical services for the project. iTEC supplied 132/22kV relay panels and a SCADA panel for the wind farm.

The New South Wales power market

The NSW region has a huge potential for wind power due to its geography. About 13 wind farms are operating in the region, generating about 1,018MW of power. In 2009-2010, 18% of the region’s energy demand was met by wind power.

The government has formulated favourable policies to encourage further investment in renewable energy in the region. Several new wind farms also under construction in the region.