Goldwind Managing Director John Titchen, left, Northern Tablelands MP Adam Marshall and Glen Innes Severn Mayor Steve Toms in front of the 59.5-metre long turbine blade in Glen Innes today.
Monday, 5 December 2016
THE first of what will be about 700 big long loads to come up the New England Highway from Newcastle and bound for the $400 million White Rock wind farm near Glen Innes arrived at their new home this afternoon.
Northern Tablelands MP and Parliamentary Secretary for Renewable Energy Adam Marshall was at Glen Innes to greet the first convoy of the wind farm turbine blades as it made a spectacular drive-through at Glen Innes.
The first of what will be 210 turbine blades, measuring just shy of 60 metres and weighing 15 tonnes, sailed into town looking like some huge inland whale watching expedition and was greeted by over 400 locals and school students, along with civic leaders and Goldwind staff.
Mr Marshall described the event as historic – because it is the start of what will be a six month journey for the White Rock wind turbine equipment – up to two convoys each week for every week through to May next year with loads of blades, tower sections, generators, cells and the turbine hub, being moved onto the wind farm, 20 kilometres west of Glen Innes.
“Today’s shipment took 11 hours from Newcastle and it was a pretty impressive load to watch manoeuvred through the ranges and up the highway,” Mr Marshall said.
“This blade – looking at bit like a whale flipping its tail from behind – is the first of what will be 210 to come up the highway over the coming months. These are the largest turbine blades to ever arrive in Australia and there’s three to every tower, they have a diameter of 120 metres and the towers stand up to 50 storeys high. That’s significant stuff for anyone.”
He was joined at the Glen Innes showground just after noon by Mayor Steve Toms and Goldwind Managing Director John Titchen to welcome the first blade aboard a long haul semi- trailer over 65metres long, called Blinky, who sailed down the street to the majestic spouts of water fired up by local fire engines.
Cr Toms said the town was incredibly excited about the arrival of the blade as the first actual experience for locals and the first tangible sign of a whole new wind generation, using the forces of Mother Nature to produce energy – “rather than digging it up from something buried in the ground.”
Goldwind Managing Director John Titchen told the welcoming crowd that they hoped to have White Rock connected to the grid by mid-2017.
He said the concrete foundations for the first wind tower had already been laid and the road completed to the farm.
White Rock Wind Farm is being developed at a site about 20 kilometres west of Glen Innes and 40 kilometres from Inverell and has project approval for the operation of up to 119 wind turbines in addition to related infrastructure.
Mr Marshall said the project will be staged with 70 turbines in the first stage and the prospect of some 700 loads to come from Newcastle was pretty awesome for anyone.
The 175 megawatt White Rock Wind Farm, currently under construction west of Glen Innes, will initially have 70, 2.5 megawatt turbines, but planning approval has been granted for 119 turbines. It will be capable of powering about 75,000 homes, and for a brief time after completion, will be the State’s largest wind farm – although Mr Marshall said it would be overtaken by the Sapphire wind farm set to start construction next year near Inverell.