An internal survey managed by AGL Energy Limited (AGL) reveals that the majority of the workforce at the Macarthur Wind Farm would have sought employment interstate or overseas, had the wind farm not been constructed and offered ongoing, permanent employment for up to 25 years.
The current 20-strong permanent workforce travels between 20 and over 100 kilometres to work each day, to undertake onsite roles such as service technicians, a site administrator, site service supervisor, service planner, and an operations manager.
However, the AGL survey revealed that without the wind farm, the current workforce would potentially be travelling much farther afield in ‘Fly In Fly Out’ arrangements to Western Australia, Queensland, South Australia, the Northern Territory or even working overseas, due to limited employment opportunities in the region.
The majority of employees at the wind farm have experience and expertise developed from working within the industrial sector, which is advantageous to wind farm operations because of the degree of technical requirements and skills required to work in the isolated and challenging conditions encountered in the wind industry.
Macarthur Wind Farm site manager and Macarthur resident, Shaun Harrison, has lived in the region with his family for 17 years working both locally and as a Fly In Fly Out worker both in Australia and overseas. He believes that the wind farm presented him with a rare opportunity to break into a new industry whilst remaining in the region.
“At Macarthur Wind Farm, I have been able to develop an entire suite of new skills such as renewable energy, electrical grid operation and maintenance and power plant management to help expand my career.”
“I would have moved back overseas to work as an expat if the wind farm didn't exist, which would have been a shame for my family who have lived in region for 17 years. But there just aren’t many of these types of opportunities to further your career.”
An independent study undertaken by consultants Sinclair Knight Merz in November 2012, determined that the South West Regional and Victorian economies have significantly benefited from the development and construction of AGL’s two Victorian wind farms, adding almost $67 million or just over one percent to Gross Regional Product.
Macarthur Wind Farm is the largest wind farm in the Southern Hemisphere and is owned by joint venture partners AGL Energy Limited and Malakoff Corporation Berhad, with an expected operational life of at least 25 years.
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 over 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.