Macarthur Wind Farm: Community

Community engagement

Here at AGL, we like to get involved with the local communities that we have a presence in. We always strive to understand community members' concerns and respond where appropriate.

The AGL Macarthur Wind Farm Community Fund is now open

The AGL Macarthur Wind Farm Community Fund is currently open from March 1st to March 31st. 

The program is designed to reinvest a portion of revenue earned into nearby communities by way of financial support for community-based initiatives, projects, and events.

The program is available to community groups in the Macarthur-Hawkesdale and surrounding regions.

The Community Support Program aims to

  • Deliver community-wide benefits from the project.
  • Support the work of existing and future community organisations.
  • Encourage local community innovation and support for issues of community significance.
  • Develop strong relations with the local and wider communities.

If you have any questions about the program, contact 1800 039 600 or AGLCommunity@agl.com.au

 

How to apply

Applications for the support fund can be submitted online here. Alternatively, applications can be also made by downloading an application form and guidelines here and submitting by:

Email: AGLCommunity@agl.com.au

Or

AGL Corporate Affairs

Mail: AGL Hydro Community Support Fund

C/O – Belinda Young

AGL Energy Limited

699 Bourke Street

DOCKLANDS  VIC  3008

If you would like to know more about the program, contact Belinda Young via email at AGLCommunity@agl.com.au

Community events and news

When did AGL find out about the fires on Saturday 17 March and how was it monitored from there on?

AGL personnel in our Melbourne office monitoring the AGL wind farms became aware of fires in the area at 20:52 and began monitoring the fire from that time. During the night this was escalated up the line as further information came to hand.

AGL’s Emergency Response team monitored the situation closely from our Incident Control Centre at our Loy Yang Power Station and our Dispatch Centre at our Head Office in Melbourne.

The Emergency Response Manager attended AGL's Incident Control Centre at our Loy Yang Power Station and engaged with emergency services personnel from there. The Gas and Renewables Manager notified the Wind and Solar Manager, who attended the Dispatch Centre at AGL's Bourke Street office and was in contact with local Vestas staff. This group remained in touch throughout the night and reconvened at 7 am and again at midday on Sunday.

AGL was in contact with emergency services and Vestas staff throughout the event.

In an emergency response scenario, AGL have the following protection priorities:

  1. People (protect the health, safety and wellbeing of those involved (e.g. staff, contractors, landholders, neighbours and the community)
  2. Environment (protect, preserve and restore the environment)
  3. Assets (protect and repair property)
  4. Reputation (provide key stakeholders with timely, consistent and accurate information)
  5. Liability (facilitate a prompt return to business as usual with minimal losses following the event)

What were the conditions on the evening of Saturday 17 March and early morning of Sunday 18 March during the fire?

AGL monitored the wind continually throughout the night. Macarthur Wind Farm was generating winds at about 17.2m/s (62 km/hr) until about midnight. The wind then reduced to about 9.4m/s (34 km/hr) before stabilising at about 12m/s (43m/s).

Why did Macarthur Wind Farm continue to operate during this time?

Many locals in the area were relying on electrical power to monitor and fight the fire, so while it may seem that shutting down the windfarm would improve the situation for the local communities, this could then threaten the power network, which could have made the situation worse. These are just some of the challenges assessed and acted on throughout Saturday night and Sunday morning.

It is also important to understand that wind turbines are not fans. They take energy from the wind, so actually decelerate the wind as it passes through the farm, as opposed to fanning it. In a bushfire or grassfire, the fire creates its own wind and draft stream, which may account for the wind speeds described by the neighbour in your email. This happens irrespective of whether there is a wind farm operating in the area.

Why did other local wind farms stop operating?

Yumbuk, Codrington and Oaklands Hill wind farms are all part of the network connected to the Terang substation that was impacted by the Terang fire. When this substation tripped, it tripped these wind farms. Macarthur, being on a different network and connected to the substation at Tarrone which was not impacted by the fire, was not impacted in a similar manner.

How was the decision made to shut down Macarthur Wind Farm the following Thursday?

Victoria Police, acting in collaboration with the Penshurst CFA, contacted AGL to request the turbines be shut down to allow for aerial water bombing. AGL received a phone call from Victoria Police at 1.20 pm and was fully shut down by 1.30 pm. So, the Macarthur Wind Farm shut down within 10 minutes of being instructed by Victoria Police to do so.

The wind farm did not become operational again until all parties agreed it was safe to do so.

Further information

Phone: 1800 039 600
Email: AGLCommunity@agl.com.au

AGL was pleased to host 7 out of 9 Moyne Shire Councillors at Macarthur Wind Farm recently. The Councillors undertook a tour of the site and workshop including a tour of the Vestas turbine simulator. AGL's David Spree, Senior Manager, Government and Community, Victoria, was on hand to hold a Q&A with Councillors, and followed up a few weeks later by providing Councillors with an overview of energy policy, both state and federal.

AGL has hosted several tours recently, including the Sunnyside Aged Care Facility, the Macarthur and District Association, the David Newman Centre, and Year 10 students from the Heywood and District Secondary College.

A men’s group from Sunnyside House – an aged care facility in Camperdown – recently toured the wind farm site. The group of men aged between 78 and 98 toured the southern edge of the site and got up close and personal with one of the turbines. They saw and heard first-hand how quickly they stop (and restart).

Michael, the group's driver, said the group really appreciated the effort AGL and Vestas had put in to showing them around. “The visit was originally suggested by Brian, one of the residents, whose son will soon be starting work at a Victorian wind farm. They’ve all had a great time, asking questions and trying to guess things like the height of the turbine and length of the blades,” he said.

The group closed the tour by acknowledging the birthday of Pauline, the carer on duty, with a rousing rendition of Happy Birthday, then headed on to Warrnambool for lunch.

AGL Energy was proud to be the major sponsor of Music in the Vines in 2017. Now in its second year, the festival was a huge success, with the crowd enjoying performances from a variety of local and national acts, and a great selection of local food and wine. Congratulations to the Music in the Vines committee for organising such a great event and, in particular, to Pieter and Michelle Badenhorst for being such wonderful hosts!

This year, Macarthur Wind Farm hosted a free bike ride on the morning of the festival as part of the 'Big Day Out Macarthur'. Taking in approximately 10 km of established road, the track through the wind farm is great for riders of all experience levels. As an added bonus, all riders received discounted entry to the festival.

AGL is looking forward to being part of Music in the Vines and the Macarthur Big Day Out in 2018 – keep an eye out for more updates.