In the lead up to the official opening of AGL Energy and Meridian Energy’s Macarthur Wind Farm in mid April 2013, the permanent operations team has a distinct local flavour, comprising 18 residents from South West Victoria. From Macarthur, Hamilton, Warrnambool and Koroit to Portland, Port Fairy and Lake Bolac, the wind farm’s local representation from the region is strong. For example, the Leith Family from Hamilton is well represented in the wind industry with two siblings working at the Macarthur Wind Farm, while their father Daryl works nearby at AGL’s Oaklands Hill Wind Farm at Glenthompson.
The benefit to the local community goes beyond direct employment, as the construction of the wind farm has utilised many local suppliers. The total number of jobs during development and construction (including flow on employment) was estimated at 875 in the region; 2,490 in Victoria, and 2,782 in Australia.1 Companies such as Portland’s Keppel Prince Engineering manufactured 80 of the 140 wind towers, with the remaining 60 being supplied by Adelaide based RPG Australia. In addition, a concrete batching plant was based on site and produced over 55,000 cubic metres of concrete for the wind turbine foundations. This is the equivalent of 11,200 concrete truck loads.
Local quarries, including the Moyne Shire owned and operated Mount Shadwell Quarry and local trucking companies benefited greatly from the project as they supplied the crushed rock and other materials for the 85 kilometres of internal roads and materials for the significant public road upgrades that have been undertaken and delivered by the project. Overall, the Macarthur Wind Farm has also generated increased traffic through the Port of Portland harbour, with a plethora of parts including blades, nacelles and hubs transported from Denmark to the Port of Portland over the 14-month construction period. The Victorian Wind Energy Operations Manager based at Macarthur and Warrnambool resident, Brendan Ryan, says that the Macarthur Wind Farm has provided a sustained opportunity for locals to secure long term employment throughout the 25 year lifespan of the project.
"The Macarthur Wind Farm will offer local employees and the region alike ongoing benefits, which will help to ensure stability to families within the region," says Brendan. The Macarthur Wind Farm has been fully operational since 31 January 2013, and the Hon. Dr Denis Napthine MP, Premier of Victoria, and local member for South West Coast will formally open the wind farm in mid April 2013.
1 According to an independent undertaken by consultants Sinclair Knight Merz (SKM), the South West Regional and Victorian economies have significantly benefited from the development and construction of AGL Energy Limited’s (AGL’s) two Victorian wind farms, adding almost $67 million or just over one percent, to Gross Regional Product.
AGL is one of Australia's leading integrated renewable energy companies and is taking action toward creating a sustainable energy future for our investors, communities and customers. Drawing on 175 years of experience, AGL operates retail and merchant energy businesses, power generation assets and an upstream gas portfolio. AGL has one of Australia's largest retail energy and dual fuel customer bases. AGL has a diverse power generation portfolio including base, peaking and intermediate generation plants, spread across traditional thermal generation as well as renewable sources including hydro, wind, landfill gas and biomass. AGL is Australia's largest private owner and operator of renewable energy assets and is looking to further expand this position by exploring a suite of low emission and renewable energy generation development opportunities.