How do developers choose a site for a potential wind farm? A lot of work goes into finding the right site for a potential wind farm. There are many factors to consider, such as:

  • The availability of wind
  • Access to the electricity grid
  • Current land use
  • Environmental impacts

See here to go to the page to be able to download the CEC -Wind Farm Guidelines for the Community.

How much energy is in wind? The energy content of wind is directly proportional to the swept area of the rotor, the air density and the cube of wind velocity. Simply put, if the wind speed doubles, the energy in the wind increases 8 times.

i.e. Power = [constant] x [air density] x [rotor swept area] x [wind velocity]3

Modern wind turbines have been shown to convert approximately 40% of the kinetic energy in the wind into electrical energy. This is known as the “energy efficiency” of the wind turbine (not to be confused with the capacity factor). Click here for more information.

Are wind farms noisy? Modern wind turbines make relatively little noise. The level of sound can vary considerably depending on the shape of the land, the position of the listener and the speed of the wind. In most instances, it is possible to carry on a conversation at the base of a wind turbine without having to raise your voice.

What do they sound like? The sound that a modern wind turbine produces is most commonly described as a cyclic whooshing or swishing sound.

Can the wind turbines effect my health ? The Victorian Government is improving the regulatory framework for wind farm noise to provide clear, robust and fair regulation for all Victorians. This has been effected by new Regulations under the EPA Act which can be viewed here.

The Australian Governments National Health and Medical Research Council view is as follows;

The NHMRC Statement: Evidence on Wind Farms and Human Health was released on Wednesday, 11 February 2015. The Statement was prepared on the advice of the Council of NHMRC with consideration of the comprehensive assessment of the evidence on wind farms and human health. It provides advice to the community and to policy makers on this issue.

After careful consideration and deliberation, NHMRC concludes that there is currently no consistent evidence that wind farms cause adverse health effects in humans. Given the limitations of the existing evidence and continuing concerns expressed by some members of the community, NHMRC considers that further high quality research on the possible health effects of wind farms is required. Further details can be viewed here.

Who owns the turbines? The owner of the wind farm owns the turbines and is responsible for their safe operation and maintenance.

What happens to the turbines at the end of the project? The owner of the wind farm is responsible for removing the turbines at the end of their working life. Click here for more details and case studies.

Do wind farms affect property values? There is no conclusive evidence to suggest that rural land is devalued due to the existence of a wind farm. The most recent report on Australia and internationally can be viewed here.

Do wind farms affect tourism? Yes, some wind farms have had a positive effect on tourism. For example, Pacific Hydro’s Codrington Wind Farm in southwest Victoria attracts 50,000 visitors each year through its successful tour operator business.

Do turbines cause fires? In rural areas, electricity-related fires are most likely to result from damage to overhead power lines by falling branches. As all high-voltage connections for turbines around the site will be run underground, the risk of electricity-related fire is extremely low. Each turbine is also fitted with a comprehensive lightning protection system that safely transfers any high voltages or currents directly to the earth without affecting turbine performance. However, any electrical facility has the potential to catch fire. The fire control methods for wind farms are the same as those used for all other high-voltage electrical assets.

Battery storage has the potentially to radically change the way energy markets operate. ARENA has some FAQs which are updated in this fast pace technology space which can be viewed here,

Large-scale solar PV uses the same technology as rooftop solar panels – specially fabricated semiconductor crystals that convert light from the sun into electricity. See details here.