Commercial Operations Started
Mt Mercer wind farm is a 131MW wind project located in Victoria, Australia. The renewable power project, which became commercially operational in September 2014, serves Ballarat. First power from the project was generated in November 2013.
The wind farm will produce energy required for up to 74,000 homes, reducing 400,000t of greenhouse gas emissions.
West Wind Energy was the original designer and developer of the facility. Meridian Energy Australia, a subsidiary of Meridian Energy, purchased the wind farm in 2009. It is Meridian’s third wind farm in Australia. The total investment on the project reached approximately $245m.
Mt Mercer wind farm details
The Mt Mercer wind project is developed on 2,600ha of land in the Golden Plains Shire, approximately 30km south of Ballarat. The project comprises of 64 REpower MM92 turbines with a generation capacity of 2.05MW each.
The MM92 turbine is 80m high and has a hub height of 80m. It is attached with three 45.2m long blades with a swept area of 6,720m². The nacelle is attached to the tower top and comprises of all the electrical components, such as the gear box, generator, rotor shaft and braking system.
The turbine components are shipped through the Port of Geelong and transported to the farm site by road. Local farmers are paid $7,000 per turbine per year for placing the turbines on their farm lands.
Details of the Mt Mercer substation
The Mt Mercer substation is located alongside the Mt Mercer-Shelford Road. The electricity generated by the wind turbines is transferred to the substation by means of underground electrical collector network. Approximately 45km of underground cables were installed for transmitting electricity.
The substation includes two transformers and a Switchyard Facility installed with control and metering equipment. The transformers were manufactured in Thailand and shipped to Geelong port.
Construction and infrastructure at Mt Mercer wind farm
The construction of Mt Mercer wind project commenced in December 2012. The project created approximately 200 construction jobs and 20 permanent operation and maintenance jobs.
The turbines were installed using the 100m high Terex Demag TC2800 main crane along with Liebherr LR 1300 crane and three 100t cranes.
The turbine foundations included excavation to a depth of 2m and approximately 40t of steel. Concrete for the turbine foundations was prepared from the on-site batching plant.
The construction works also included that of the 132kV overhead power line connecting the substation to the Elaine Terminal Station.
Mt Mercer power transmission and grid connection
Wind turbines generally generate power at 690V. The voltage is increased to 33kV at the turbine base and the high-voltage power transmitted to the wind farm’s substation. The main transformers at the substation further increase the voltage to 132kV.
The 132kV power from the substation is transmitted to the Elaine Terminal Station located north of the Elaine town through a 22km overhead power line. The voltage is further stepped up to 220kV before connecting to the national grid.
Contractors involved with Australia’s Mt Mercer project
REpower Systems was awarded the wind farm construction contract. The contractual scope included supply and installation of 64 wind turbines.
The civil and electrical works contract was awarded to Downer EDI. The contractual works included provision of access roads, turbine foundations and electrical cables and connectivity.
Transmission Operations was awarded the contract for the construction and operation of a new power line and the Elaine Terminal Station. The design, construction and grid maintenance works were sub-contracted to Powercor Network Services.
TOLL Holdings was awarded the contract to transport the turbine components from the shipyard to the farm site.
Mammoet Wind was subcontracted to install and connect the wind turbines and towers.
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