Windy Hill Wind Farm is a wind power station near Ravenshoe on the Atherton Tablelands, Queensland, Australia. Windy Hill has 20 wind turbines with a generating capacity of 12MW of electricity.
The power station was commissioned in 2000 and was initially operated by the Stanwell Corporation. However, as of December 2007, Windy Hill was sold to Transfield Services Infrastructure Fund as part of Queensland Government’s ClimateSmart 2050 strategy.
Windy Hill Wind Farm is Queensland’s largest wind farm with 20 windmills producing enough power for 3500 homes.
Windy Hill Wind Farm is located about three kilometres from Ravenshoe, which is situated 920 metres above sea level (highest town in Queensland,) on privately owned Atherton Tableland dairy farmland.
It is capable of a generating capacity of 12 megawatts, and the number of wind turbines is 20.
Wind turbine operation
Phase 1 of Windy Hill wind farm consists of 20 turbines with a combined capacity of 12 MW. The turbines are Enercon E40, each with an electrical capacity of 600 kW. The turbines are mounted on tubular towers 44 metres high, the hub height is 46 metres. The rotors have total diameters of 46 metres. The blades pitch to optimise the power produced and to control the rotational speed. The turbine rotates from 14 rpm to 38 rpm maximum.
The rated output is produced at wind speeds of between 13 m/s (47 km/hour) and 25 m/s (90 km/hour), the cut-in wind speed is 2.5 m/s (9 km/hour).
Power is generated at 400 volts and is stepped up to 22,000 volts with a transformer for connection to the grid. The turbines are connected through underground cables before being connected to the overhead transmission lines passing through the wind farm. Ergon has constructed a new substation closer to Ravenshoe to enable the wind farm power to join the 66kV service to the Tablelands and North Queensland.
Stanwell Corporation does not own the land around the wind farm. Two local farmers have entered into lease access agreements with Stanwell. The wind turbines have minimal impact on their activities and the farmers continue with normal land use.
Phase 2 of the project is planned to consist of another 22 turbines, taking the total capacity to 25 MW. The project will proceed if the Shire Council and the local community are fully satisfied with project impacts.
Windy Hill’s 12 MW wind farm will produce enough energy to supply 3500 homes (equivalent to the towns of Atherton and Mareeba) and will reduce carbon dioxide emissions from non-renewable sources by 25,000 tonnes. Stanwell undertook wind monitoring to assess the potential of the site and optimum turbine layout. The consultation process with stakeholders considered issues such as aesthetics, impact on wildlife, noise levels and compatibility with telecommunications systems.