Gullen Range Wind Farm

15 December 2015

Bannister District Hall Association has purchased Bannister Hall to use as a community facility for the residents of Bannister, with Gullen Range Wind Farm (GRWF) providing the funds required to purchase the property.

Association members Ken and Liz Ikin said the purchase of the hall was a benefit for the residents of Bannister.

“The purchase of this hall is of great benefit to our community. We have elected a committee to look after the running of the business side of the Hall, and regular meetings will be held to keep the Community in touch with what is happening,” Mr Ikin said.

“This hall will be used to accommodate meetings for the Bushfire Brigade, Land Care, young mothers, exercise classes and social events. We are already planning our first event, which will hopefully be the inaugural Christmas Carols on December 22.

“Having the hall will also benefit our community with the “Are you OK?” campaign, which keeps residents in touch with each other, especially during difficult times, as experienced by people in our community.

“We would like to take this opportunity to thank the Gullen Range Wind Farm for the purchase of this hall back into our Community.”

In addition to the Association and community events, the Rural Fire Service will rehouse the Bannister Tanker on this site.

GRWF Community Engagement Manager Clare Powell said Gullen Range Wind Farm was delighted to have assisted Bannister District Hall Association with the purchase of the Hall.

“I look forward to hearing of the many worthwhile events the hall is used for by the local community, as well as by the Rural Fire Service. The Rural Fire Service provides an essential service in the local area and one which GRWF wholeheartedly supports,” Mrs Powell said.

The landmark property still has the original hall area with timber flooring, as well as a workshop and other facilities which will prove useful for groups using the hall. The rear of the property contains bedrooms, a lounge room, a kitchen and bathroom facilities.

The funds provided by GRWF for the purchase of the property are separate and additional to the Community Enhancement Program, which will begin following the completion of construction and commissioning of the turbines.

The Community Enhancement Program is split between two schemes: the Community Fund and the Clean Energy Program, and amounts to $131,700 per annum.

Gullen Range Wind Farm

29 October 2014

Gullen Range Wind Farm (GRWF) has reached agreement with Upper Lachlan Shire Council (ULSC) and Goulburn Mulwaree Council (GMC) to repair local roads used to access the wind farm during construction.

GRWF have committed a total of $5.8 million in local road improvements including this final investment, which comes as construction of the wind farm draws to a close and the number of traffic movements is markedly reduced.

Tom Frood, EPC Manager at GRWF, said: “Throughout construction, GRWF has been committed to repairing dilapidation to local roads caused by wind farm traffic and this agreement is a positive step towards achieving that.

“We’d like to thank local residents for their patience during construction of Gullen Range Wind Farm. We firmly believe that we will leave the road in a better condition and that it will require less maintenance than it was before the project commenced.

“The agreed repairs and improvements will greatly benefit those who regularly use Range Road. Gullen Range Wind Farm is very pleased to have reached agreement with Upper Lachlan Shire Council and Goulburn Mulwaree Council, and we look forward to working together to complete the repairs.”

John Bell, General Manager at ULSC, said in September: “It is with great satisfaction that we can announce the agreement with Gullen Range Wind Farm this week for repairs to council roads accessing the wind farm.

“Gullen Range Wind Farm has worked closely with our roads team to secure a broad scope of repair work and provide adequate financial contribution. The agreement covers the requirements of the Project Approval to the satisfaction of Upper Lachlan Shire Council.”

Andrew Palmer, Manager Works at GMC, said: “The proposed works in GMC will ensure that Range Road and Chinaman’s Lane are in great condition as construction of Gullen Range Wind Farm is finished. The council supports the use of local contractors where possible, ensuring the benefits are retained locally.”

The agreement reflects GRWF’s commitment to repairing dilapidation of local roads caused by heavy vehicles and increased traffic during construction. In Upper Lachlan Shire the Council will perform the reconstruction works, while repairs in Goulburn Mulwaree will be managed by Gullen Range Wind Farm using local contractors. The repairs will be completed by the end of April 2015. Roadworks will include reinstatement or reconstruction of certain sections of Range Road, Chinaman’s Lane, Mullins Creek Road, Bannister Lane and Storriers Lane.

Over 9km of Range Road will be repaired, using a combination of complete reconstruction, patching, full-width patching, shoulder repairs and resealing. The existing sealed section on Bannister Lane will be repaired and resealed. The site access from Range Road into Bannister South section of the Wind Farm will undergo drainage improvement and sealing work. The Kialla Road and Range Road intersection will be realigned to ULSC and GRWF requirements.

The repair work will be carried out in conjunction with the removal and replacement of a number of low-level causeways, which have been a concern for road users and will be replaced with culverts. A separate contract has been negotiated for this work. This will result in a better experience for road users on Kialla Road, Range Road and Bannister Lane.

Gullen Range Wind Farm

11 October 2014

Anyone wondering about the benefits to the region of renewables should just follow the steady stream of trucks and utes from Goulburn to Grabben Gullen.

Machinery, concrete, sand, gravel as well as labour, services and equipment hire are all being supplied by local companies to the Gullen Range Wind Farm.

According to Goldwind’s Project Manager Mr Ben Bateman at least 70 per cent of the 115 workers on the wind farm are locals with $13m already being spent on goods and services in the local region and $5m spent on the local roads.

Goulburn earthmoving company Tutt Bryant is one of the companies supplying plant and machinery including loaders, excavators, rollers, tractors and graders to assist with road works, cabling, and to help with oversized loads.

Mr Ben Zyla the local manager of Tutt Bryant said they have engaged the services of a dozen or so subcontractor companies to supply the needs of the site and employed 4 additional staff to supply the workload.

“Most of the local earthmoving businesses involved will have delivered over $2milion of works to the project.

“This is a major boost to the local economy as there are very limited large projects on at the moment.

“The Southern Tablelands has long been identified as a major wind resource area. It is quite ridiculous for us not to take advantage of this and turn natural energy into clean power generation.

“Rural towns are struggling with limited development. The area’s mainstay, agriculture, is on a gradual decline so we need to be making better use of the land.

“I know of a shearer who has left the industry after many years and has been re-trained to do maintenance on wind turbines and has never been happier.

“The impact of wind farms on agriculture and communities is very little compared with the benefits.

“Sure the construction stage does impact on locals with major road movements of equipment to site, but in the process, we keep work local and the developers contribute major funding to upgrade the roads after completion.”

In addition to the locals working on the wind farm Justin said he is blown away by the number of people the wind farm has brought to the region to live and work on the project during construction.

“I couldn’t believe the numbers of blokes from out of town in the supermarket queue in Goulburn the other day who I know are working on the wind farm.”

Tuttm Bryant is joined by Divalls, APE Earthmoving, Designcrete, Concrete 4 Goulburn, fencing contractors, pubs, motels, and cafes all benefiting from the wind farm construction phase

In addition to all the regional benefits the wind farm will power approximately 60,000 homes when it becomes operational in 2014 while continuing with its other agricultural and farming activities.

Wind farm making the most of local workforce

Locals are getting the lion’s share of the jobs on the construction phase of the Gullen Range Wind Farm.

Goldwind Australia’s project manager Ben Bateman said wherever possible we have tapped into the region’s skilled and unskilled local work force.

“Seventy per cent of our team constructing the Gullen Range Wind Farm comes from the local area. We’ve got local crane operators, truck drivers, electricians, labourers and others. A lot of these blokes
know each other from around the traps.”

Mr Jock Shutzendorff, who lives just out of Goulburn, is one local who was saw the opportunity and went knocking on Goldwind’s door.

“I spent 15 years operating heavy machinery but now I am the Quality and Logistics Coordinator for
the Gullen Range Wind Farm. It’s been a big learning curve and I’m learning something new most days.”

“A typical day for me includes taking delivery of parts of the wind turbines, inventory and some
computer work.

“We’ve got a wide range of jobs, from managers, engineers, office staff, OH&S, electricians, and other
subcontractors such as fitters, crane drivers, riggers and earthmoving.”

Crookwell crane operator Mr Adrian Baty is another local who saw the opportunity to get involved in the project.

“Working on the wind farm has given me a steady income and a chance to get more experience of this growing industry so I can get more work later,” he said.

Mr Shutzendorff agrees: “There are a lot of wind farms in the region, it is a windy place. Wind farms are a good source of employment.”

Mr Bateman said the wind farm construction is progressing very well with construction, commissioning and testing to be completed by mid 2014 providing jobs to locals in their own community and injecting cash back to the region. to local roads.

Project Update

The construction program at GRWF is progressing with significant milestones being achieved; The final foundation was poured on 26th September which, along with the completion of almost all the onsite roads, means that the civil works involved on the project are now largely complete. This means that construction traffic will reduce significantly.

The switchyard for the project which connects the project to the TransGrid transmission network is now complete with the contractors (UGL) now demobilising from the site. This is a significant achievement which allows the project to export green energy to customers on the network.

The delivery of the components will be extended to a further 10 weeks. As with the current delivery schedules, all loads will be carried through in the early hours and under Police escort to ensure minimal disruption to the local communities of Goulburn and Upper Lachlan Shire.

Goldwind would like to thank the communities surrounding Gullen Range Wind Farm for their ongoing patience and support during the project.

Gullen Range Wind Farm

3rd October 2015

The Planning Assessment Commission (PAC) has made its decision on the Gullen Range Wind Farm modification application. The PAC did not impose any conditions on the project despite DPE recommending approval based on a set of conditions. The PAC refused to approve the modification application but did not examine the consistency of the project with the current approval.

The existing Project Approval granted by the Land and Environment Court remains in force. In making their decision it is GRWF’s view that the PAC has misunderstood and misapplied the “Draft NSW Planning Guidelines: Wind Farms”.

The PAC has effectively relinquished its role in considering the modification; the PAC had the opportunity to apply specific conditions but did not. This leaves Gullen Range Wind Farm to continue to rely on the existing project approval.

Gullen Range Wind Farm (GRWF) remains of the view that the project, as constructed, is consistent with the existing project approval and that a modification application was not required. The existing approval provides flexibility about the final location of turbines. Finalising the wind turbines locations on large wind farms is a normal and necessary aspect of wind farm construction. The
consistency of the final turbine locations with those assessed as part of the original approval is supported by several consistency reviews, expert planning, visual, noise and other assessments. Details of these assessments are available in the modification application on the DPE website.

GRWF has been carefully focussed on compliance with the Gullen Range Wind Farm Project Approval since commencing the project. A DPE approved Environmental Representative has reviewed each stage of project construction to ensure compliance with the project approval.

GRWF will continue the project under the terms of the existing project approval. Gullen Range Wind Farm is the largest wind farm in NSW, extending over 25km with 73 wind turbines and has resulted in substantial local employment, work for local businesses and investment in local roads.

Agreement was reached on 22nd August 2014 with the local road authority (Upper Lachlan Shire Council) for a substantial package of road remediation works that fully satisfied GRWF obligations under the Project Approval.

Gullen Range Wind Farm

22 August 2014

The 165.5MW Gullen Range Wind Farm will be the largest wind farm in NSW when construction is completed. The renewable energy produced will be enough to supply 60,000 homes.

Gullen Range Wind Farm is nearing completion of construction with 68 wind turbines installed and 5 turbines remaining to be erected. The project approval provides for the erection of 73 wind turbines.

The recently released ‘Secretary’s Environmental Assessment Report’ on Gullen Range Wind Farm by the NSW Department of Planning and Environment (DPE) did not identify any noise, visual or other issues with the location of the 5 turbines that had not yet been erected.

The DPE assessment report and the associated recommendations represent the completion of a key stage in the Section 75W Modification Application process that seeks to resolve a dispute over the final locations of wind turbines. The DPE report states:

“The Department’s assessment concluded that in most instances, the change in the visual impact from the constructed layout and approved layout was not discernible, however, in the case of two turbines, the Department has concluded that the constructed location of turbine BAN_09 and BAN_15, which have moved 167m and 178m respectively from their
approved locations, have caused greater visual impacts.”

“The Department’s assessment of noise involved the Department’s own noise expert and an independent expert to review the predicted difference in noise impacts from the constructed layout of turbines. The reviews conclude the proposed relocation of the turbines will result in an insignificant change in wind turbine noise from the wind farm and that it is capable of meeting the noise limits in the Project Approval.”

The two wind turbines referred to above, BAN9 and BAN 15 were installed many months ago. Gullen Range Wind Farm has been advised by independent experts that these turbine locations are consistent with the project approval.

Gullen Range Wind Farm stated publicly on the 31st of July 2014 that following the finalisation of the DPE report Gullen Range Wind Farm will now endeavour to complete construction as the last 5 turbine locations are not disputed in DPE report. This week, a turbine (BAN25) is being erected. The final location of this turbine is not closer to any non-associated residence within 2km of the wind
turbine and its final location is not considered in the DPE report to be of concern. The remaining 4 turbines to be erected are in the south of the project site and their final locations are also not considered in the DPE report to be of concern.

The DPE has referred the decision on the 75W Modification application to the Planning Assessment Commission. Gullen Range Wind Farm will continue to contribute during this process. Ultimately the Planning Assessment Commission will make a decision on the application.

Gullen Range Wind Farm has focused carefully on complying with the project approval. The project has been constructed under the project approval and Gullen Range Wind Farm has independent expert advice that the project is consistent with the project approval.

Gullen Range Wind Farm

31 July 2014

The Department of Planning and Environment (DPE) has completed its assessment of the Gullen Range Wind Farm (GRWF) Modification Application. Gullen Range is a 73 turbine Wind Farm located North West of Goulburn in NSW extending over approximately 25km.

The DPE assessment report and the associated recommendations represent the completion of a key stage in the Section 75W Modification Application process that seeks to resolve the dispute over the final locations of wind turbines.

Following completion of its assessment, DPE has now referred the modification application to the Planning and Assessment Commission (PAC) and seeks PACs decision on the application. DPE has recommended approval of the modification with specific conditions including a requirement to move two installed wind turbines to the indicative approved locations.

GRWF is reviewing the DPE report and its recommended changes and has been surprised by the recommendations in respect of the two turbines. DPE has also proposed additional conditions including extensions to existing landscape screening requirements, increased vegetation offset areas, and updating the project approval to reflect current best practices for noise, tonality, decommissioning and community consultation.

GRWF received several expert consistency reviews of the project’s compliance with the development approval prior to and during construction. The consistency reviews concluded that the final turbine locations are consistent with the development approval. The two wind turbine locations that remain disputed by the DPE are installed and were erected quite some time ago. GRWF is not
convinced that the DPE recommendation to relocate the two turbines is warranted. This view is based on assessments provided as part of the modification application.

This large wind farm project is now at an advanced stage of construction with all roads, foundations, cables, transformers and 68 turbines installed. At the peak of construction up to 115 people were employed at site. In parallel to the PAC process, GRWF will now endeavour to complete remaining construction activities so that operational compliance monitoring and other measure such as the
community enhancement program can commence.

GRWF will continue to contribute to the 75W Modification application process which has now been referred to the PAC for consideration and decision.

2 March 2014

Gullen Range Wind Farm (GRWF) has carefully focused on complying with the Development Approval.

The project approval authorises the construction of the wind turbines in the locations identified in the environmental assessment but those locations may be subject to “minor relocation”.

The Department of Planning and Infrastructure (DOPI) approved the Construction and Environmental Management Plan in 2012.

There have been multiple consistency reviews which have been produced or endorsed by the Environmental Representative whose appointment was approved by the DOPI. These reviews have confirmed consistency of the final layout with the Development Approval, confirming that the project impacts are consistent with the impacts assessed in the Development Approval.

An independent expert evaluation of visual impacts assessed that:

“ The minor alterations in arrangement are barely discernable even when the two layouts are compared one above the other. In reality once construction is completed there would be no discernable difference to any viewer.”

The noise management plan was submitted as part of the operational environmental management plan which has been approved by the DOPI. The noise management plan demonstrates compliance with the relevant noise guidelines with the final layout.

The project is now well progressed with production commencing in December 2013 and construction completion due in the middle of 2014. Delivery of wind turbine major components to site was recently completed.

The DOPI has requested that a 75W application be lodged to address concerns with some of the turbine locations. GRWF is cooperating with the DOPI on this process.

Last week GRWF voluntarily stopped work erecting turbines that were listed by the DOPI.