Oaklands Hill Wind Farm produces enough energy to power approximately 32,000 average Australian homes annually.

The wind farm is expected to provide renewable energy to the national energy market for at least 25 years.

The total amount of carbon emissions created during construction of the farm were offset by operation within five months.

Location

The $200m Oaklands Hill Wind Farm is located on 2,323 hectares of freehold agricultural land 3 km south of Glenthompson, in the shire of Southern Grampians in Western Victoria. It spans eight properties, which are mainly used for sheep and cattle grazing.

The location was chosen for its high potential for harvesting wind.


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Overview
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In this section


Development and maintenance

AGL undertook a wide range of comprehensive studies to determine the impact of Oaklands Hill Wind Farm on ecology, landscape, cultural heritage, visual amenity and other environmental factors. Following a robust development process, a planning permit was issued in late 2008.

AGL commenced construction of Oaklands Wind Farm in mid-2010, with practical completion achieved in February 2012.

Suzlon Energy Australia Pty Ltd (SEA) was awarded the Engineer Procure & Construct (EPC) contract – they installed 32 Suzlon S88 turbines with a capacity of 2.1 MW each. The total output from the wind farm is capped at 63 MW. Suzlon are also responsible for the ongoing maintenance of the site.

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Key statistics



Total output capacity (constrained) 63 MW
Individual turbine capacity 2.1 MW
Turbine type Suzlon S88
Turbine height 80 m
Max blade tip height 124 m
Length of on-site access tracks 26 km
Length of underground cables 26 km
Concrete 10,240 m3
 Steel for towers 5,460 tonnes
Average Australian households powered each year Approximately 29,000


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News

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Community complaints and enquiries

AGL understands that we don’t always get it right, and we want to be informed when we don’t. If you would like to provide any feedback, good or bad, or simply ask some questions, please feel free to get in touch via the following channels:

AGL Community Complaints and Enquiries Hotline: 1800 039 600

Email: AGLCommunity@agl.com.au

Mail: AGL Community Complaints & Enquiries, Locked Bag 14120 MCMC, Melbourne VIC 8001

Learn more  about how we handle your general customer complaints on our complaints page.


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In this section


Community engagement

During development and construction of the wind farm, AGL engaged in rigorous stakeholder consultation; and we continue to work closely with landowners, the community, and local and state authorities.

Here are some of the things we have done and are doing:

  • an AGL Community Fund supports local projects, with funding allocated through consultation, ranking and agreement with local community associations
  • AGL is committed to ongoing monitoring, offsets and local community investment for the life of the project, to conform to planning permits
  • AGL will continue with its strategy of building long term local partnerships by investing in the local community.

Below are some highlights of how we engage with the community.

Peaks and Trails Festival of Running

AGL was proud to be the major sponsor of the Peaks and Trails Festival of Running for the third year running in 2017. Held in and around Dunkeld, this picturesque event caters to trail enthusiasts of all abilities, with access to beautiful Southern Grampians trails and a number of private trails normally inaccessible to the public.

Sponsored through the Oaklands Hill Wind Farm Community Support Fund, the Festival attracted over 300 competitors, up around 50% on last year. The AGL Ultra Marathon – which covers 50 gruelling kilometres – had 60 entrants.

Australian Ultra Marathon Team member, Kellie Emmerson, dominated the Ladies Open categories, taking out both the Mount Abrupt Challenge (a 6 km run up the mountain) and the Ultra Marathon – on consecutive days … and in record times!

For the first time, a team of AGL runners participated in the event. Rawle Kendall (Accountant, New Energy), Natalie Blair (FP&A Manager, Sales and Marketing) and Hoang Nguyen (Asset Performance Analyst, Wind and Solar) did the business proud. The team was joined by Natalie’s running club mate, Amelia Griffo, after James Bower had to withdraw at the last minute with a broken foot.

The team put in an outstanding effort:

  • Rawle completed the 26km event in 3:12, finishing 27th overall and 11th in his age group
  • Natalie completed the 11km event in 1:13, finishing 21st overall and 4th in her age group
  • Hoang completed the 26km event in 2:52, finishing 15th overall and 8th in his age group
  • Amelia completed the 26km event in 3:06, finishing 22nd overall and 3rd in her age group

oaklands-hill-peaks-and-trails_image_1

Hannah Coffey, Community Relations Manager, said that AGL is very proud to be a major sponsor of the Festival.

“We’re in the business of energy and it’s great to partner with an event that so embodies high levels of energy, enthusiasm, determination and drive. AGL is Australia’s largest operator and developer of renewable energy generation, including the nearby Oaklands Hill Wind Farm, and we are committed to supporting the communities in which we operate," she said.

 

Meeting with Member for Lowan, Emma Kealy MP

AGL met with Member for Lowan Emma Kealy MP in May 2017. The discussion covered local community engagement and investment from AGL, and the issue regarding mobile reception in the area.

Glenthompson Progress Association

We were pleased to attend the Glenthompson Progress Association Meeting on 3 May 2017, to provide an overview of AGL’s operations and to provide the community with an opportunity to share their views. The Committee discussed the Community Support Fund for Oaklands Hill and opportunities to support local projects. Salinity and Brolga projects were also discussed.

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Wind farms and health

For detailed studies on wind farms and health, please visit the document tab above.

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In this section


Bat and avifauna monitoring program overview

Since Oaklands Hill Wind Farm became operational, an extensive bat and avifauna monitoring program has been implemented by specialist consultants in accordance with the planning permit.

A Bat and Avifauna Management Plan (BAM Plan) was prepared and the following sections describe the monitoring that has been completed to date.

If you would like more information, please contact our Community Engagement team on 1800 039 600 or email aglcommunity@agl.com.au

Bat and avifauna mortality monitoring

In response to comments from DELWP, an additional monitoring campaign was implemented which focused on the mortality of two threatened species: Brolga and Southern Bent-wing Bat. The first 12 months of mortality monitoring was completed from May 2019 to May 2020.

Key findings from the monitoring program include:

  • No threatened bird or bat species were found impacted by blades of wind turbines.
  • Results indicate that the likelihood of Brolga being impacted is extremely low – no Brolga have ever been observed on the wind farm site and there is also no suitable habitat on site.
  • 48 bird fatalities were found, Magpies and Brown Falcon were the most common species detected.
  • Two bat carcasses were found, a White-striped Freetail Bat and a Gould’s Wattled Bat.
  • Annual mortality calculated for large birds was zero.
  • Annual mortality of bats was estimated at 0.91 ± 0.66 bats per turbine, equating to a total of 29.12 ± 21.12 bats over all 32 turbines in 12 months.

For more information see:

Brolga monitoring

To assess the risk of Brolgas colliding with wind turbines at the Oaklands Hill Wind Farm, a two-year monitoring program was implemented following completion of the wind farm. The monitoring was focussed on their abundance and spatial distribution within the vicinity of the wind farm.

Brolga surveys were completed from August 2012 to April 2014. Monitoring found that relatively few Brolgas utilise habitat within 10 km of the Oaklands Hill Wind Farm. Whilst a number of wetlands in the region are used as flocking sites by up to 200 Brolga at each site, all are located beyond 10 km from the wind farm. It is unlikely that the wind farm will impact the Brolga population due to the lack of suitable habitat on site and spatial distance from Brolga flocking sites.

For more information see:

General bird monitoring

Following completion of the Oaklands Hill Wind Farm, monitoring of bird utilisation of the wind farm was implemented for a period of two years to examine any seasonal differences in the abundance and diversity of bird species.

The following reports cover Spring 2011 to Winter 2012 and Spring 2012 to Winter 2013.

Species observed in both years comprised common native and introduced farmland birds. Only one threatened species was identified in the two years of surveys, that being the Black Falcon which is listed as vulnerable under the Advisory List of Threatened Vertebrate Fauna in Victoria 2013. Most individuals observed were recorded as flying, or foraging and flying. There was no significant difference between morning, mid-day and afternoon in the abundance of individuals.

For more information see:

Bat activity monitoring

Monitoring of bat presence and activity was undertaken in autumn and spring prior to commissioning of the Oaklands Hill Wind Farm.

The aim of the monitoring program was to firstly determine the bat species present on site, particularly the presence of the EPBC listed Southern Bent-wing Bat (Miniopterus schreibersii bassanii), and examine their relative activity on the wind farm site, and secondly to identify which species were most likely to be impacted by the wind farm.

Surveys in both seasons did not record the presence of Miniopterus schreibersii at the wind farm, nor was this species recorded in a preliminary bat survey during November 2006 (Venosta 2007). It is possible that this species may use the site during periods of migration for example, but this would be expected to be infrequent. The Oaklands Hill Wind Farm is therefore unlikely to adversely impact the population of Miniopterus schreibersii in south west Victoria.

Overall bat activity near the top of the anemometry mast was significantly lower than near the base.

For more information see:


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Noise monitoring

In March 2012, AGL completed voluntary, comprehensive noise testing around the Oaklands Hill Wind Farm in response to concerns raised by neighbouring residents.

The noise testing, performed by specialist noise consultants, tested for infrasound, amplitude modulation, low frequency noise and tonal noise at locations neighbouring the wind farm.

Testing demonstrated that all areas of sound were compliant with the strict regulatory requirements. However, some audible tones from the gear boxes were detected in certain low wind speed conditions (between 10-18 km/h). The operation of the wind farm was modified so that the turbines did not operate during these low wind conditions.

In addition, after consultation with several neighbours, AGL decided to voluntarily temporarily shut down several turbines on the Wind Farm from 8:00 pm to 7:00 am each night. Residents were advised this was a temporary measure until a permanent fix for the tonal noise could be made.

After a thorough investigation, the source of the tonal noise was identified, with the solution to fix the issue implemented from November 2013. This involved fitting each turbine with a gearbox dampener to remove the tonal noise that was occurring under low wind speed conditions.

Following the installation of the dampeners, the Oaklands Hill Wind Farm recommenced operating to its full capacity, with the turbines operating with no operating hour limitations.

Further testing was undertaken in November 2014 and May/June 2015, as well as in February/March, August/September and November/December 2017.

If you have any further questions regarding this or any other matter, please feel free to contact our Community Relations Team on 1800 039 600 or email AGLCommunity@agl.com.au and an AGL representative will be in contact.

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In this section


Bird and Bat Monitoring


Wind farms and health


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