The wind is greener at Woodlawn

The Woodlawn Wind Farm in New South Wales.

The Woodlawn Wind Farm in New South Wales.

The Woodlawn Wind Farm in New South Wales, developed and owned by Infigen Energy, recently reached full completion with the official commissioning of the project in late 2011.

The Woodlawn wind energy project is part of Infigen Energy’s Capital Renewable Energy Precinct, located in the Southern Tablelands of New South Wales, 37 km south of Goulburn. It is situated on Pylara Farm, which is owned by Veolia Environmental Services.

The area has a diurnal profile that is well-aligned to typical daily electricity demand, and the Woodlawn Wind Farm is located in open farming country with optimum spacing for turbines and minimal obstructions in landscape and topography.

Woodlawn is in close proximity to the 140.7 megawatt (MW) Capital Wind Farm, another Infigen project in the Capital Renewable Energy Precinct. Completed in 2009, Capital Wind Farm is located close enough to Woodlawn for it to take advantage of existing electrical infrastructure.

Infigen says that the availability of cost-effective connection infrastructure was a critical factor in consideration of further clean energy projects in the region; not having to duplicate the connection for Woodlawn has been a considerable benefit to project commencement and completion.

Turbine technology

Now that the Woodlawn Wind Farm is operational, electricity production begins at wind speeds above 14 km/h, and maximum or ‘rated’ capacity is achieved at speeds of approximately 36–54 km/h.

The turbine blades rotate at regular revolutions – between 15 and 18 revolutions per minute – and operate at capacity until the wind speed reaches 90 km/h.

The Woodlawn Wind Project contains 23 of the Suzlon S88 turbines, each with an installed capacity of 2.1 MW, pitch-regulated blade operation, a three-stage gearbox and flexible coupling to the asynchronous induction generator.

Each steel tower reaches 80 m in height with an 88 m rotor diameter. The blades, made of fibreglass and epoxy, measure 44 m each.

The turbines connect to the electricity network along a combination of underground and overhead cabling via the Capital Wind Farm substation. New substation equipment installed to allow for Woodlawn included a Toshiba 30/330 kilovolt (kV) transformer, switch room, reactive plant, and protection system.

In addition to a supervisory control and data acquisition system, Woodlawn’s power output and interaction with the National Electricity Market (NEM) is controlled using custom-built software and a communications link to Infigen’s operations control centre in Sydney.

Project construction

Infigen says that protecting the local environment around Woodlawn was one of its top priorities for the project. Environmental risks were treated in a very similar way to safety risks, with the project management team ensuring that the environmental management plan was part of the site induction process and closely integrated with construction activities.

The wind project was built on Veolia’s Woodlawn eco-precinct, a landfill that utilises waste-to-energy technology by harnessing electricity from gases produced. Construction involved careful co-ordination of deliveries and installation of large components in often difficult-to-access locations.

Following the construction phase, Infigen worked with local contractors to minimise disturbance to the native habitat and to enhance the landscape by planting more than one thousand trees and shrubs on the host farm.

Outlook at Woodlawn

The Woodlawn energy plant is expected to produce approximately 160 gigawatt hours of electricity per annum, and power generated from the project is sold directly into the NEM.

Woodlawn Wind Farm is an accredited generator under the Federal Government’s Large-scale Renewable Energy Target scheme and the GreenPower program.

The plant is connected to a 330 kV transmission line operated by TransGrid.

Woodlawn Wind Farm is Infigen’s sixth Australian wind farm. It will continue to ramp up, with full production expected for the 2013 financial year.

Infigen hopes to further develop the Capital Renewable Energy Precinct, and has received planning approval for the proposed 100 MW, 41 turbine Capital 2 Wind Farm.

Project name: Woodlawn Wind Farm

Location: Capital Renewable Energy Precinct, 7 km from Tarago in New South Wales

Nearest capital city: 50 km northeast of Canberra, Australian Capital Territory

Demographic: Rural

Owner and developer: Infigen Energy

Construction contractor: REpower Australia

Capacity: 48.3 MW

Commissioned: October 2011

Capital cost: $115 million

Turbine manufacturer: Suzlon Group

Number of turbines: 23

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