Pacific Hydro is a leading Australian renewable energy company, producing clean power from wind and water. We are proudly branching into large scale photovoltaic solar energy and have interests in conventional geothermal technology.
Pacific Hydro identifies, delivers and operates renewable energy projects and provides clean power and premium carbon abatement products and services to customers across the globe.
We deliver clean energy projects that not only benefit the environment and our communities, but also produce positive social and sustainability outcomes throughout their operating life.
Globally, Pacific Hydro is one of the world’s largest renewable energy companies with 1,934MW of projects at varying stages of development, construction and operation in Australia, Chile and Brazil.
Wind power is the conversion of wind energy into electricity.
Wind energy has one of the lowest environmental impacts of any energy source and provides hundreds of jobs to regional communities.
The turnover of the wind sector worldwide reached $40 billion in the year 2008 with the market for new wind turbines showing a 42 percent increase and reaching an installed capacity of 27.261MW. Ten years ago, the market for new wind turbines had a size of 2.187MW, less than one tenth of the size in 2008.
In the World Wind Energy Report 2008, worldwide capacity reached 121,188MW and wind energy continued its growth at an increased rate of 29 percent. All wind turbines installed by the end of 2008 worldwide were generating 260TWh perannum, equalling more than 1.5 percent of global electricity consumption. The wind sector also became a global job generator and created 440,000 jobs worldwide.
Pacific Hydro has taken advantage of this effervescent market and with more than AUS$25 billion to be invested in new carbon free electricity generation over the next decade, became Australia’s leading wind energy expert.
Pacific Hydro’s six operating wind farms in Australia are delivering significant positive impacts for local communities while producing clean energy and abating carbon emissions.
Our six operating wind farms comprise of 147 wind turbines with a combined generating capacity of259.4MW. Given the average operational life of a wind farm is 20 years, the total estimated direct regional economic benefit of these six wind farms, in today’s dollars, will be $215.7 million.
The estimated $25 billion of new capital investment will come about due to the Federal Governments Large Scale Renewable Energy Target (LRET) legislation, much of which is expected to be invested in new wind energy developments. In addition to this significant regional investment,assuming 4,000 wind turbines are constructed in Australia as a result of the LRET and they all operate for a period of 20 years the additional direct regional economic benefit in today’s dollars will be $5.9 billion.
The expanded renewable energy target (LRET) is a key policy measure and will complement broader action which will come from an economy wide price on carbon. The LRET is expected to drive investment in Australia’s emerging clean energy industry anddeliver more than 12 GW of new renewable energy capacity by 2020. Some 6-8 GW is expected tocome from wind power, which will be built in regional and rural areas of Australia.
Australia will need to affect a transformation of our energy system in the coming decades to meet national emissions reduction targets and to ensure the Australian economy remains competitive in a low carbon future. Achieving this will require a planof action that encompasses how we produce and consume energy to ensure continued growth and prosperity while delivering deep cuts in greenhouse gas emissions.
Wind energy – the future
While wind is a naturally variable technology, this does not limit the value of its contribution to meeting consumer demand in a cleaner energy system. Even in the current energy system, wind penetration could reach up to 20 per cent without causing issues for network operators.
For example, wind currently provides about 20 per cent of South Australia’s power and is producing “enough reserve power into the grid to safeguard Adelaide’s supply...for this and the following summer despite an increase in consumer demand.”
This view, from Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO), clearly shows that wind energy has the capacity to shore up supply, rather than being a ‘draw’ on the network.
Indeed, in the National Electricity Market (NEM), there are a number of market management arrangements inplace to ensure that over time, the network adapts to increasing levels of wind generation.
The AEMO – which manages the inter-connected eastern sea-board NEM – has worked with the wind industry for many years to develop and make improvements to the Australian Wind Energy Forecasting System (AWEFS).
This system has been operating since 2008 and AEMO continue to work through a program of enhancements to improve market operator capacity to forecast, schedule and manage wind generation.
Delivering positive social and environmental outcomes for local communities
Pacific Hydro has always understood that we can’t stand outside the communities in which we operate. Social responsibility is at the core of our business and we work losely, consult widely and communicate clearly with our communities.
Many of our projects are located in remote areas with only limited access to basic amenities andin these areas, our relationship with the local community is key. These communities allow us to conduct our business, and we strive to not onlybuild and manage projects that generate a basic, but important commodity - electricity - but also to improve their social infrastructure. Whenever we can, we extend the social, environmental and financial benefits for these communities while developing wholly positive projects.
At the recently opened Clements Gap Wind Farm in South Australia’s mid north, construction provided work for 425 South Australians. All major contractors were based n South Australian and many local people were employed on the project. Local consultation and ongoing work with the community ensured impacts during construction were minimised.
The Challicum Hills Wind Farm near Ararat, at the gateway to the Grampians in Victoria, has been operating since 2003. The 35 generator project continues to have strong support locally and attracts tourists from around the state. And locally, Pacific Hydro’s Sustainable Communities Fund, which returns a portion of revenue from Pacific Hydro’s operating projects, has provided grants totalling around $250,000 to local community organisations working to make a positive and lasting contribution to the communities around the project.
Pacific Hydro’s Sustainable Communities Fund was an Australian first in the wind industry when it was launched in 2005. The program providesa portion of revenue from each of our operational wind farms back into local co munities through community groups that host these projects.
Since the Fund was introduced, over $1.1million has been injected into 323 socially and environmentally sustainable projects.
Through the Fund our aims are:
To build more cohesive and stronger communities in which we operate;
- To encourage innovative solutions and new approaches to local issues;
- To encourage organisations to work together and to form partnerships which delivercommunity services;
- To promote positive and long term outcomes for wider community benefits; and
- To promote local awareness and commitment to the sustainable community ideal.
The Fund opens annually at each operating project site and is available for the life of the wind farm’s operation. Applications are invited across five areas: health and safety, education and training, sport and recreation, art and culture and the environment.
Applications are reviewed in consultation with local Councils, development boards, other funding bodies and community members before being finalised internally by Pacific Hydro. This ensures local priorities and projects that support sustainability across the wider community are identified.
Pacific Hydro aims to support projects that have been identified as community priorities and meet the Fund guidelines.
Projects that have received funding include:
A group of dedicated conservationists at Pallister’s Reserve near Pacific Hydro’s Codrington WindFarm are preserving nature exactly as it’s always been. Pallister’s Reserve is a hive of flora and fauna activity including wetlands utilised by the magnificent, but endangered Brolga and Australia’s largest owl, the Powerful Owl. The committee ensure tree planting is carried out at the perimeter of the property so the wetlands remain available to the Brolgas.
“Loss of wetland habitat is the main cause of dwindling numbers of Brolgas in Victoria. The protection of wetlands is crucial in maintaining suitable breeding habitat,” said Committee member Jock Bromell. Visitors to the reserve are always welcome and the committee is keen to enlist new volunteers. “Volunteers can participate in a number of activities including tree planting, weed control and water table measurement on the wetlands,” Bromell said. The 130ha Reserve is also home to a species of ative orchid not previously documented. Pallister’s Reserve is located on the road to Bessiebelle from Orford.
Pacific Hydro donated $9388 to purchase a 23,000L concrete water tank with a fire hose connection in the event that there is a fire at the Reserve.
Disability support service provider, McGregor Community Services, partnered with the Tri-State Games in 2009 and 2010 to deliver a sporting event which promotes active participation, friendlycompetition and positive social interaction for people with disabilities.
The Games are a weeklong event attracting more than 250 athletes from disability organisations throughout Victoria, New South Whales and South Australia. The Games, while being a sporting event, are far more in terms of social cohesion, development and fostering of confidence of people living with a disability.
As well as the social benefits, the Games provide economic stimulus to the host towns with the Ararat Rural City Council estimating that the 2010 Games generated in excess of $500,000 into the local economy.
McGregor House is actively engaged in the Ararat and district community and provide a number of beneficial opportunities and programs for people living with a disability including day programs, respite services, social activities and supported employment.
Codrington celebrates 10 successful years of operation
It was fantastic for Pacific Hydro to be able to share in the success of its first operational wind farm and to commemorate 10 years of operation of the Codrington Wind Farm with the local community.
In its first 10 years, the company’s first operational wind farm project has achieved substantial benefits for the environment, already abating more than half a million tonnes of harmful greenhouse gas emissions and producing 437,895 MWh of electricity — or the equivalent energy needs of around 10,000 homes annually.
Since 2001 larger wind energy projects have been constructed but the Codrington Wind Farm holds a special place in both Pacific Hydro and our nation’s history as our very first wind development and the first privately owned wind farm built in Australia.
The project marked the beginning of the wind industry in Australia and enabled a number of local businesses to diversify and expand into renewable energy after first working on the Codrington Wind Farm. Some of those businesses included:
Days Electrical, a Portland-based family owned and managed business, took their first foray intothe wind industry working as the main electrical contractor on the Codrington Wind Farm. The experience was a positive one and since then, Days Electrical have continued to provide electrical services for other wind farm projects including the Yambuk Wind Farm, Cape Bridgewater Wind Farm, Cape Nelson South Wind Farm and the Macarthur Wind Farm. Business owner Stephen Day creditsthe investment in renewable energy in the south west which has led to the employment for thirteen tradespeople and an additional three clerical staff employed by the company.
Codrington Wind Farm Tours
Tim and Carmel Brady have been providing tours of the Codrington Wind Farm for 10 years and have welcomed thousands of visitors to the unique tourist attraction. Visitors include primary school students, through to senior groups and everything in between. The tours continue to be popular and are primarily focused on renewable energy and wind farm technology.
Codrington Settlement and Gardens Bed and Breakfast
Geoff and Yuan Tonks and family have operated the Codrington Settlement and Gardens B&B for three and a half years and welcome thousands of visitors annually. Like other neighbouring residents Geoff is a strong supporter of the wind farm and has recentlyconstructed a viewing platform on the grounds of the property to take advantage of the panoramic wind farm views and to further educate his guests. One guest, apparently could not sleep due to the noise from the wind farm, however, when he discovered that it was in fact the noise of the waves, commented that if only he had known, he would have slept soundly! Geoff says that most visitors are interested in the nearby wind farm and enjoy the opportunity to find out more about renewable energyduring their stay.
Keppel Prince Engineering
The Codrington wind farm towers were the first wind farm towers manufactured by Keppel Prince Engineering. Since those early days the company has grown and developed their Portland based manufacturing facility to become the most respected wind tower manufacturer in Australia. The company employs around 150 people and the towers re built to meet the strictest quality standardsapplicable. The business also erects wind farms and has provided ongoing maintenance services at Codrington Wind Farm since it was commissioned.
During the 10 years the Codrington Wind Farm has been in operation the Codrington/Yambuk Sustainable Communities Fund has injected over $330,000 into 80 local community projects that help to support social and environmental programs locally. We continue to be impressed by the dedication and commitment of local community groups who work tirelessly to implement projects that benefit local residents.