The 52.5MW Challicum Hills wind farm was Australia’s largest wind farm when completed, in August 2003. The project comprises 35 NEG Micon NM64C wind turbine generators, rated at 1.5MW each, with a maximum hub height of 68m and maximum blade tip height of 100m.
Located on private farming land just east of Ararat, in western Victoria, the project generates enough clean electricity to supply approximately 26,000 homes each year and has created significant employment, investment and tourism opportunities in the region.
The operations of the Challicum Hills wind farm abate 140,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions each year. Over its 25-year life, it will help reduce greenhouse pollution by more than 3.5 million tonnes.
Construction commenced in October 2002 once Pacific Hydro had managed local concerns and effected plans to minimise disturbance during the construction phase. Half of the A$76 million project cost was spent generating new investment in the local economy through construction, operation and maintenance.
Re-vegetation programs are increasing native flora which will help to protect local biodiversity and improve the habitat of indigenous wildlife.
Gaining the support of the community was vital, and extensive consultation began with local community members and businesses on a wide range of issues including the project’s visual impact, its effect on birdlife, native vegetation and indigenous cultural heritage.
As part of the operation of the project, Pacific Hydro continues to invest in local community initiatives via the Sustainable Communities Fund. More information can be found here.