A young German wind farm project engineer, Raoul Abrutat and Jonathon Thwaites worked on conceptualising, promoting and finding capital investment for developing a wind farm on Rous Head on the Fremantle Port.
Initial discussion with the Port authority led to the Port advertising for expressions of interest (EOI) for renewable energy on the Port facility. Effectively we had to bid for our own idea. It soon became apparent we needed financial credibility to win the EOI process. Initial agreement for provision of capital came from Normandy Mining who at the time was an independent power producer in WA with 300 MW electricity gas turbine in the Goldfields and selling electricity to customers in the metro area. The gold price dropped dramatically and we were obliged to find another partner - Pacific Hydro.
Despite developing the idea into a workable project Pacific Hydro effectively now seems to own the project.
After and in the process of winning the EOI we took, over a period of 5 years, the concept through: Environmental Impact, Heritage, State Planning approval, Local Government approval (City of Fremantle), Public Consultation processes and were successful in completing these with positive outcomes.
The project however stalled when Western Power offered the following terms for the embedded (on the Port) facility. For spill electricity Western Power would offer nothing. For top up power when the wind was not blowing approximately 20 c per kW.h about twice the going rate for many industries.
The project with these terms is not bankable - it would lose money and has since then languished. All approval for it to go ahead are in place.
Below is a montage of the wind farm.
Capacity 900 kW
Rotor diameter 52 m
Hub height 55 m
Rotation speed 15 – 22 rpm
Wind speed range 3.5 – 25 m/s
Rated wind speed 16 m/s
Number of Wind Turbines 8
Site capacity 7.2 MW
Annual Electricity Production 22,000 MWh p.a.
Electricity supply for 5,100 households
Portion of WA’s electricity 0.1%
Annual Emission savings 22,000 tonnes GHG p.a.
Project value (estimated) $ 12 million
Advantages of a Fremantle Wind Farm Partnership
- Enhances a stronger Fremantle identity
- Increases confidence in future wind energy developments
- Community investment is most acceptable form of development
- Social/political acceptance of the chosen location
- Local community investment raises awareness of:
- Sustainability & Renewable Energy
- Greenhouse Gas reduction, ie. energy-related Climate Protection
- True community involvement
- Sharing a common good, ie. infrastructure asset
- Proactive development
- State’s economy
- Effective lobbying.