The Snowtown Wind Farm (SWF) is a 370MW onshore wind energy facility located on the Barunga and Hummocks ranges, about 140km away from Adelaide, Australia. In January 2004, Wakefield Regional Council approved the planning for the construction and operation of the SWF.
Building work on SWF-I started in 2007 and was operational by November 2008. SWF-II, the second phase, started on 25 October 2012 and was operational in November 2014.
SWF-I generates 350GWh of electricity and saves more than 345,000t of annual greenhouse gas emissions. SWF-II produces 989GWh of power, which is enough for 180,000 South Australian homes. It is equivalent to cutting 700,000t of greenhouse gas emissions annually and is one of the largest wind farms of Australia.
The project is owned by TrustPower, based in New Zealand. SWF-I was jointly developed by Wind Prospect and TrustPower.
Origin Energy purchases 100% of the electricity generated by SWF-II, under a 15-year power purchase agreement (PPA). It also purchases 89% of the electricity produced by the SWF-I.
Snowtown wind farm construction
Construction of SWF-II was split into two separate wind farms, 144MW Snowtown 2 North with 48 turbines and 126MW Snowtown 2 South with 42 turbines. The two phases together have a total capacity of 270MW.
The initial phase of construction focussed on roads, hardstands and foundations, as well as the installation of electrical and communication networks. The first power was generated in October 2013.
Equipment of Barunga and Hummocks wind facility
The 98.7MW SWF-I comprises 47 Suzlon S88 2.1 wind turbines rated at 2.1MW each. Each turbine has a rotor diameter of 88m, a hub height of 80m and a blade tip height of 124m.
SWF-II is equipped with 90 gearless SWT-3.0 wind turbines rated at 3MW each. It has 23 turbines, each with a rotor diameter of 101m, and 67 turbines with 108m rotor diameters. Each turbine has a hub height of 80m and a blade tip height of 134m.
Grid of Snowtown onshore wind plant
The 28km new overhead transmission line transfers the electricity generated from the existing substation to a new substation located about 7km west of Blyth. The power is then transferred to Electra Net Para to Bungama 275kV transmission line.
Transmission infrastructure includes 63km underground cable trenching of 33kV, a 19km overhead line of 33kV, a 28km overhead transmission line of 275kV, and a new substation.
Contractors for Wakefield region wind farm, Australia
Siemens was awarded with a contract to engineer, procure, construct (EPC) and maintain the SWF-II. Under the deal, Siemens supplied and installed gearless drive turbines on the project site. It also engineered and supplied substations, switchgear and transformers.
ElectraNet provided the transmission connection. The construction of the wind farm was carried out by Siemens, CATCON and Consolidated Power Projects (CPP). CATCON was responsible for the civil works at the site, under a subcontract with Siemens.
Downer EDI was responsible for the installation of the 28km overhead transmission line.
Australia’s power market
South Australia is the country’s leader in renewable energy. The state is currently trying to achieve 33% of electricity generation from renewable sources by 2020.
SWF phases I and II are able to fulfil more than 10% of South Australia’s annual electricity demand.
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