Detailed technical assessments, including ecology, heritage, visual and social had been undertaken in order to prepare the planning application.
Throughout the construction and operations phase, an Environmental Management Plan has been developed, in consultation with the relevant government agencies and private stakeholders, to ensure the construction and operation of the project occurs in an environmentally responsible manner.
The construction impacts of wind farms are well understood due to the developed nature of the wind industry in Australia and worldwide. This knowledge together with the detailed local knowledge held by the relevant government agencies and private stakeholders has been combined to minimise the wind farms impact on the local environment.
Benefits of Wind
The environmental benefits of the Collgar Wind Farm to the community are outlined below, they have been calculated in accordance with the Policy and Planning Guidelines for the Development of Wind Energy Facilities and the relevant site data. Environmental and planning approvals have been granted on the basis of 127 wind turbines, but the figures listed below represent the current wind farm size of 111 wind turbines.
Renewable Electricity Generated Per Year
Collgar Wind Farm generates approximately 650GWh to 850GWh of renewable electricity per year.
Greenhouse Gas Emissions Displaced
Collgar Wind Farm displaces between 480,000 and 660,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions.
Average Number Of Households
Collgar Wind Farm supplies enough energy to power between 120,000 and 170,000 average Western Australian households per year.
Number of Cars Taken off the Road
Collgar Wind Farm offsets the emissions of between 120,000 and 160,000 cars per year (average car estimated at 4t of CO2 per annum) the equivalent of planting 1 million trees.
Human activity is resulting in the release of large amounts of greenhouse gases. Such gases trap the sun’s heat in our atmosphere and upset the delicate balance of the Earth’s climate. Small changes in the temperature of the atmosphere cause accelerated melting of the polar ice caps and rising ocean levels, changes in rainfall patterns, destruction of delicate ecosystems such as coral reefs and increased extreme events such as droughts, hurricanes and cyclones. In South Eastern Australia, a decade long drying and warming trend is suspected to be a result of global warming.
Electricity production is a major source of greenhouse gas emissions. Approximately 49.91% of Australia’s greenhouse emissions come from the burning of fossil fuels to produce electricity.
One way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions is to replace fossil fuels with a natural, renewable source of energy such as wind. Initiatives to combat climate change, such as the Kyoto Protocol, have allowed wind energy to become the world’s fastest growing energy source, with currently over 10,000 megawatts (MW) of capacity installed globally every year. The Western Australian Government has chosen to support renewable energy by investing in wind energy, bringing to the State new job opportunities as well as clean electricity.