10 September 2021

New Crookwell wind farm to inject funds into local community

| Clare McCabe
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Crookwell 2 Wind Farm

The new Crookwell 3 Wind Farm will be adjacent to the site of the existing Crookwell 2 Wind Farm. Photo: Ken McCallum.

Site work is anticipated to begin this month at the 16-turbine Crookwell 3 Wind Farm, with commissioning expected to commence by late 2022.

Australian-owned company Decmil has been awarded the civil balance of plant works by developer Global Power Generation (GPG), a subsidiary of Naturgy.

Decmil has already begun geotechnical investigations and, withstanding any COVID-19 related disruptions, civil construction should commence soon.

The contract is worth $21 million, with options worth a further $2 million, according to a media statement by Decmil.

The total investment for the Crookwell 3 Wind Farm is around $120 million, and local contractors are also bidding for a share of construction works.

Civil site works will include 16km of road construction, including new access roads and improvements to existing access roads, 116,000 cubic metres of bulk earthworks for hardstands, laydowns and building pads, and 6600 cubic metres of concrete in tower bases.

Construction completion is expected by mid-2022.

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Decmil will return to the site to complete grouting after the turbine installation in late-2022.

Upper Lachlan Shire Small Business Association vice-president Susan Reynolds said the large-scale project will benefit many businesses in the Crookwell region.

“Infrastructure projects of this size will inject much appreciated revenue into our town through accommodation, food, petrol, bakery and services,” she said.

“It is hoped some of our Upper Lachlan Shire small business trades and operators will be extended the opportunity to contribute and realise revenue from the build and ongoing maintenance.

“This industrial build should assist many local businesses during these challenging times.”

Andrew Divall, from Divall’s Earthmoving and Bulk Haulage, said the project is expected to be a similar size to the Crookwell 2 Wind Farm.

His submission in support of the wind farm showed the company employed around 30 workers during the 18-month construction of Crookwell 2.

“Jobs of this scale are not commonplace and they provide a material number of jobs that pump money around businesses throughout the Crookwell and Goulburn economy,” said Mr Divall.

Divall’s Earthmoving and Bulk Haulage has tendered for civil works.

GPG has also partnered with wind turbine company Vestas to deliver the turbines and undertake a 15-year service agreement.

“We look forward to championing GPG’s ambitious vision of sustainability in Australia through the successful delivery of the Crookwell 3 Wind Farm,” said head of Vestas Australia and New Zealand, Peter Cowling.

Vestas’ turbines are also installed at the Crookwell 1 Wind Farm. The wind power company provided eight wind turbines at the 4.8 megawatt (MW) wind farm, the first to be established in NSW, in 1998.

The investment for Crookwell 3 is around $120 million and is designed to generate 58 MW of renewable energy.

In June 2021, a media statement from Naturgy said it had signed a power purchase agreement with Telstra.

The telecommunications giant has committed to procure 80 per cent of the energy generated at the wind farm at a fixed price.

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“The Crookwell project is an important part of Telstra’s renewable energy generation journey,” said Telstra chief executive officer Andrew Penn in a media statement.

“As one of the biggest energy users in the nation, it matters when we take action to both decarbonise our operations and clean up the grid for the future.”

Telstra aims to own or contract renewable energy generation equivalent to 100 per cent of the energy the company consumes in its operations by 2025.

GPG currently operates the adjacent 91 MW Crookwell 2 Wind Farm, with a power purchase agreement (PPA) awarded to the ACT Government. In total, Spain-based Naturgy has a portfolio of 750 MW of renewable energy projects across Australia.

The scaled-down Crookwell 3 Wind Farm was initially rejected by the NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment in October 2019, however the proponent won its appeal to the department a year later.

Crookwell 3 is expected to be fully operational by early 2023.

This will be the ninth wind farm in the Upper Lachlan Shire, contributing approximately 780 MW of renewable energy.

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Margaret Wilson5:11 pm 30 Sep 21

One road that has been impacted with traffic is Pejar Road. This road has been used as a short cut to the wind farms and no work has been done to upgrade this road. Pejar road is surrounded by wind farms.

Lynne van Veen8:13 pm 15 Sep 21

So many large wind turbines in the shire have had a negative visual impact on our beautiful landscape. Any monetary gain is shortlived and the number of locals employed is unfortunately negligible.

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