Rivers of Gold for the region at Gullen Range
Gullen Range Wind Farm
12 August 2013
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 – even the socks are coming from Lindner at Crookwell.
According to Goldwind’s Project Manager Mr Ben Bateman at least 70 per cent of workers on the wind farm are locals with $12.3m 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.”
Tutt 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. It’s a great atmosphere on site. 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 will take around a year to complete the construction phase which is giving jobs to locals in their own community and injecting cash back to the region. The project also includes $5m in upgrades to local roads.