Frequently Asked Questions

Understanding The Project

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We understand that the wider community will be interested to learn more about this project and the developers driving it. We have compiled a list of frequently asked questions, however if you require further information, please contact the team. 

FAQS

Frequently Asked Questions

The Project

The Delburn Wind Farm is a wind energy project located in the Strzelecki Ranges, South Gippsland. The site is located over plantation land centred in the Delburn area, covering the HVP Plantations’ Thorpdale Tree Farm and is generally bound by Coalville to the north, Thorpdale to the west, Darlimurla to the south and Boolarra and Yinnar to the east.

Major townships close to the site, as referenced from the centre of the site include Morwell which is located 15 km to the north-east, Moe approximately 15 km to the north, and Mirboo North which is approximately 15 km to the south-west.

Cubico Sustainable Investments, a leader and global investor in renewable energy, has joined OSMI Australia Pty Ltd as joint development partner in the Delburn Wind Farm, and will purchase 100% of the project prior to the commencement of construction.

OSMI Australia Pty Ltd will provide ongoing services including community engagement and development approvals compliance, through the construction period and early operations given the knowledge of the project and established relationships with the key project stakeholders.

Based on current projections, construction of the Delburn Wind Farm is planned for 2024-2026 with a 30-35 year operating life.

The Delburn Wind Farm will have 33 wind turbines. Visit 'The Project' to learn more.

The site is a suitable location with high voltage transmission lines already located in the area, having been close to the Latrobe Valley power stations. There is a good wind resource profile in the area to generate electricity economically. The weather in the area is different to many of the other wind farm sites in Victoria, so the turbines will generate electricity at different times of the day.

The turbines will be up to 247 m tall at the tip of the blade and the hubs will be around 166 m high. This gives a blade ground clearance of 85 m, which provides for a high level of clearance over the plantation trees even when they are ready to be harvested.

Larger turbines are more economical than smaller turbines and not as many are needed to generate the same amount of electricity.

The larger turbines need to be spaced further apart, which makes it easier for aircraft to fly between them for crop spraying and aerial firefighting, and visual and noise impacts are reduced.

The wind farm is expected to produce approximately 205 MW or 640,000 MWh from 33 turbines. This is enough energy to power the equivalent of 135,000 average Victorian homes each year – which is about the size of the Latrobe Valley community.

As a comparison, you would need 100 turbines the size of those at Bald Hills Wind Farm to produce the same energy output as what is proposed to be generated from 33 at Delburn Wind Farm.

The capacity factor of the site (the percentage of the maximum output it would produce if it was running all the time), is roughly 36 percent, which is consistent with most wind farms. However, the time of day that the wind blows around the Latrobe Valley is sufficiently different from Western Victoria and this is important for energy diversity in the transition to greater variable renewable energy generation.

Forest and plantation timber-based wind farms have been built across Europe for over 10 years. The Delburn Wind Farm will be the first plantation-based wind farm built in Australia.

The Delburn Wind Farm sits entirely within HVP Plantations freehold land, so there is only one landowner hosting the wind farm infrastructure. In recognition of nearby amenity impacts, a neighbourhood profit sharing arrangement will provide access for neighbouring residents (or owners of dwellings) to receive a financial benefit directly from the wind farm.

Learn More: Community Benefits Scheme

Financial modelling indicates that the wind farm is commercially viable. It does not receive any government subsidies to achieve this.

Renewable energy projects have two key sources of revenue: wholesale electricity and large-scale renewable generation certificates (LGCs). Retailers are obliged to purchase certain quantities of LGCs to meet their retail sales requirements under the Federal Renewable Energy Target, and this obligation ends in 2030 under the current legislation.

The Victorian Minister for Planning is the Responsible Authority who determined suitability of a planning permit for the wind farm. The Delburn Wind Farm met strict State and Federal Government regulations and will continue to ensure we meet all legal requirements and exceed them where possible.

Community

The Delburn Wind Farm has a multi-faceted Community Benefits Scheme that is made up of  a Community Development Fund, Neighbour Profit Sharing and Community Co-investment offering into the wind farm. It is proposed that the community benefits package be overseen by a committee drawn from the community surrounding the project.

We will maintain open and transparent communication around the wind farm planning and construction activities through a number of channels including the website, social media, media releases and e-News. This includes:

  • Providing contact information and how to meet with the project team
  • Project updates and e-News
  • Information on traffic routes, timing of key construction activities and Over Dimensional load
  • How to make a complaint and the follow-up process
  • We will maintain a Community Consultative Committee that consists of community members from around the project area who are there to provide an additional channel of information to and from the community.
    delivery timing and

First Nations people are being consulted throughout the planning process and this will continue through the construction phase. A Cultural Heritage Management Plan (CHMP) has been developed in consultation with the Gunaikurnai, the Traditional Owners of the land. We are committed to sharing knowledge of traditional uses of the land where the project is sited as part of the project’s public information displays.

Local Investment

During the construction and operations phases of the project, the wind farm project is expected to:

  • Share $500,000 per annum directly to the neighbours of the project through Neighbour Profit-Sharing arrangements for dwelling owners within 2 km of the project. This arrangement could be extended to dwelling owners within 3km of the project if that is the community’s preference; however, the total quantum of the fund is fixed. It is expected this will be delivered via a community trust structure. The details of the design and delivery calculation will be defined in consultation with a Community Benefit Sharing Committee with membership drawn from the community.
  • Contribute approximately $400,000 per annum in rates-in-lieu payments to local councils, significantly contributing to essential services in the local community.
  • Allocate $750 per MW installed (approximately $150,000) per annum to a Community Development Fund, once construction commences.
  • These benefits will also be supplemented by local procurement, jobs and spending within the region by the project and the contractors supporting the Delburn Wind Farm.

Community Co-investment

An opportunity for community co-investment in the wind farm will open once the wind farm reaches full operation. Details of the scheme will be finalised once the wind farm commences construction.

Community co-investment allows the community to benefit by sharing a portion of the earnings from the wind farm. A community investment vehicle is used to buy rights to a portion of the earnings (likely to be a fixed return over a fixed term) of the project but has no decision-making power or control over the operation of the asset. The investment model will be linked to the Delburn Wind Farm as a whole (rather than an individual turbine or turbines). We intend to partner with local community energy groups to deliver mutual benefits. A ‘Community Investment Testing Phase’ was conducted over 2019-2020 with the community expressing interest in investing close to $1 million in the project.

Jobs

The Economic Impact Assessment of the Delburn Wind Farm has identified that 186 full time equivalent jobs (directly and indirectly linked to the delivery of the wind farm) will be created during the two-year construction period and approximately 24 new, on-going full time equivalent jobs (directly and indirectly associated with operating the wind farm) during the 30-35 year operating life of the project.

Tendering for works at a local business level is expected to take place in the first half of 2024, after the primary contracts are awarded (which will be announced). Any local businesses who wish to register interest to be included in any tenders are encouraged to complete the form on this website.

Learn more: Employment and contracting opportunities at the Delburn Wind Farm

Visual Amenity

In order to show the visual impacts of the wind farm from local areas, we have developed photomontages and virtual reality captures from a range of public locations around the project.

The ability to view any part of the wind farm is very dependent on the viewing location and the terrain, vegetation and any built structures which block the views from many locations in and around the wind farm site.  

We have TrueViewVisuals iPad-based software that can allow a visualisation of the wind farm to be created when visiting any residence surrounding the project. This can be provided by local project staff upon request.

Learn more: ‘Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality’ views of the proposal.

Noise and Health

The maximum audible noise from the wind farm at any dwelling (outside) is predicted to be around 36 dB. This is well below the allowable limit in Victoria and is described as being like a quiet whisper noise level in a quiet room. For most dwellings around the wind farm, it is modelled to be much lower than that.

Specific noise predictions for individual dwellings located nearby are available from the Delburn Wind Farm team. Call 1800 676 428 or email [email protected].

Infrasound is caused by movement. Wind turbines emit infrasound, however the levels of infrasound emitted by turbines is lower the levels emitted by many other commons sources (including the ocean and other man-made objects) and is at levels lower than can be perceived by the human body.

There is plenty of research on the impacts of infrasound on health and the impact of wind farms, and there is no consistent evidence that wind turbines impact health. The National Health Medical Research Council issued a revised statement on the 11 Feb 2015 after looking at over 4000 papers that “there is currently no consistent evidence that wind farms cause adverse health effects in humans”. Research in the area is on-going as the technology evolves.

More information: Report by NHMRC

Flora and Fauna

Some native vegetation will need to be removed during construction, mainly along roads to allow for the transport of large turbine components. The turbines themselves will all be located within the plantation. The overall amount of native vegetation considered to be impacted under Victorian guidelines is 14 hectares and 54 large trees; however, not all of this vegetation will need to be removed as some is only impacted in the root zone or by aerial trimming. The total amount to be directly impacted or removed is approximately 6 hectares and 20 large trees.

Some bird and bats species can be impacted by wind turbines. The impacts are typically far lower than the impacts of cars, transmission lines, glass windows and climate change, and will depend on a number of factors which are specific to each site, such as species present, rotor swept area, flight patterns, etc.

The turbines will have blades that are 85 m above the ground at their lowest point, meaning only species that fly higher than 85 m have the potential of being impacted. A detailed study into the flora and fauna around the Delburn Wind Farm found that only three species of bird are likely to be impacted and one species of bat.

The wind farm is required to prepare and maintain a Bat and Avifauna Management Plan (BAMP) as part of the planning permit conditions. Under the requirements of the BAMP, the actual impacts will be monitored in the first year after operation begins, and if the impact is unacceptably high (determined by thresholds set by DEECA in the BAMP), mitigation measures such as curtailment (slowing down or switching off the turbines at certain times of the day or night) will be implemented.

A small number of koala habitat trees (around 15) will need to be removed to build the wind farm however this loss will be offset by the protection of other trees and native vegetation. Potential impacts to waterways will be prevented by careful choice of construction techniques near waterways, and by preventing the run-off of sediment into waterways during construction. Apart from this initial impact, impact to koalas, platypuses or any other land or water-based fauna would be limited to normal traffic movements of operations staff and these impacts will be limited with speed controls.

Fire

Fire risk is taken very seriously in the design and operational plans for the Delburn Wind Farm and a stringent risk management approach has been developed that ensures the wind farm does not increase the risk of fire in the area.  Modern wind turbines include built in fire detection and suppression systems that minimise fire risk within the wind turbine itself.

During construction and operation, fire risk will be minimised to by ensuring all staff comply with the Delburn Wind Farm Bush Fire Mitigation and Management Plan.  This plan is developed and regularly reviewed in consultation with the Country Fire Authority (CFA).

Wind turbines do not prevent aerial firefighting. In all aerial firefighting operations, it is the pilot’s responsibility to maintain a safe distance from existing vertical hazards (i.e. communications tower, masts) and operate under visual flight rules.  Each aircraft and pilot have varying levels of capability and experience, and other external factors such as weather conditions also contribute to the distance that needs to be maintained from wind turbines.

The CFA recommends that wind turbines are spaced at least 300 m apart to allow for the safe passage of aircraft between turbines. This requirement is easily met with the Delburn Wind Farm design which has a minimum turbine spacing of 640 metres.

The Delburn Wind Farm project team will consult with CFA, and the other relevant emergency authorities to prepare a Fire Mitigation and Management Plan for the construction and operation phases of the wind farm. Construction cannot commence until after CFA has approved the Fire and Mitigation and Management Plan. 

The increase in cleared areas provided by access roads, underground cable routes and the wind turbines themselves, allows the project ‘footprint’ to improve access for first responders and increases the number, location and size of fire breaks within the plantation area in the event of a fire starting within the plantation.

The processes and systems to manage fire risk include:

  • All transformers will have bunding to contain any oil spills, the tank of the transformer that contains the oil will be fully sealed and regular oil sampling will be employed to monitor the condition of the transformers during the life of the wind farm.
  • All wind turbines will be fitted with nacelle fire detection and suppression systems to contain any fire that may start
  • Each turbine will be equipped with a lightning protection system
  • Dedicated monitoring systems within each wind turbine that detect temperature increases in the turbines (to either place turbine in a “safe state” or shut them down when the threshold temperature is reached), and a cut off system to prevent overheating when the temperature inside the nacelle is too high.
  • Where a product is available on the market, the wind turbines will be specified to use non-combustible hydraulic and lubricant fluids.
  • A fuel reduced area (free of flammable material) will be maintained around the perimeter of all wind turbines and above ground electrical facilities.
  • The wind farm will install a network of cameras that will provide surveillance across the plantation to ensure any fires that do start in the plantation will be detected early and will provide notification to emergency authorities.
  • All staff permanently based at the wind farm will be fully trained CFA firefighters.

Construction and Operation

There will be some disruptions during construction and major deliveries. The wind farm has been designed to minimise the use of existing public roads wherever possible to reduce the impact of construction  traffic on local residents. Some road upgrades are required along Deans Rd, Varys Track, Golden Gully Rd, Smiths Rd and Creamery Rd to ensure these roads are of adequate width, bearing capacity and slope to allow them to be used for large component delivery. Upgrades will be required at some intersections with the Strzelecki Highway (at Golden Gully, Rd, Smiths Rd and Creamery Rd) to allow safe turning movements of construction traffic and to allow the movement of over-dimensional loads (in particular, the wind turbine blades).

A Traffic Management Plan will be prepared in consultation with the three local Councils where the wind farm resides and with the Department of Transport, which will outline routes where additional traffic will be associated with the wind farm.

A detailed Construction Environmental Management Plan (CEMP) will be developed to cover all aspects of potential environmental impacts, mitigation measures and the management protocols required to ensure that any potential impacts to the surrounding environment from the construction process will be appropriately managed and mitigated.

Communication and Transport

An Aviation Risk Assessment found that the project does not pose an unacceptable risk to aviation. The wind farm has in place operating protocols with the landowner for the temporary shutdown of wind turbines (yawed parallel with the proposed flight paths and temporarily parked in the “Y” position) for instances of planned aerial spraying of the plantation or aerial firefighting activities.

The CFA recommends that wind turbines are spaced at least 300 m apart to allow for the safe passage of aircraft between turbines. This requirement is easily met with the Delburn Wind Farm design which has a minimum turbine spacing of twice this recommendation.

A background survey of existing electromagnetic (telecommunication) signals has been conducted for the region, and turbine placement has been selected to minimise any disturbance to the existing signal pathways. Additional surveys of TV signals will be conducted at nearby residences prior to construction. If a resident reports any signal disruption after the turbines are installed, we will be able to determine if the wind farm caused the disruption and if so, we will implement a resolution. Possible solutions may include the installation of improved antennas or satellite dishes or upgrades to signal towers.

An Aviation Risk Assessment completed in consultation with the relevant aviation regulatory bodies has concluded that aviation lighting is not required for the turbines.

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