FAQS

WIND

How long does it take to build a wind farm?
The construction timeframe depends on the project size and the number of workers deployed on site. For a 120 MW power plant, a 12 to 18-month timeframe is typical, with a peak construction period of 3 to 5 months.
What technology does Neoen use to build its wind farms?
Neoen’s projects use premium quality wind turbines provided by leading manufacturers. This is selected through a competitive process for each project. All components come with long warranty periods – wind turbines are generally warrantied for 20 to 25 years.
What is the life cycle of a wind farm?
A wind farm will typically operate for between 25 and 30 years.
How do wind turbines work?

Wind turbines are designed to convert wind into mechanical energy by rotating the turbine blades.

The mechanical energy is converted into electricity via a generator in the nacelle, which is sent directly to the grid.

The electricity generated by the turbine is proportional to the wind speed cubed. For example, a wind turbine in 8m/s wind will produce about 8 times as much electricity as a wind turbine in 4m/s wind.

This is why it’s important to place turbines in high and consistently windy areas to achieve the lowest cost power generation for consumers.

How tall are the wind turbines?

Wind turbines are generally 150 to 270m high (at the highest point). There’s approximately 500 to 1000m between each turbine, but this varies between projects.

Turbines continue to grow in size each year. It is likely that the maximum height of the turbines in the Alectown Wind Farm may be up to 240m.

How do you stop wind turbines impacting the landscape?

We understand that wind turbines do alter the landscape. But we are committed to working with communities to ensure our wind farms have the least possible detrimental impact on visual amenity.

We encourage individuals and groups with questions about visual impact and solutions to engage with us early.

Overall, we believe that emissions reductions – as well as the immediate and long-term benefits that wind turbines bring to communities – offset some loss of visual amenity.

We also believe that renewables impact the landscape significantly less than traditional, fossil-fuel based sources of electricity such as coal mines.

ECONOMY

Do renewable projects benefit the Australian and local economy?

A 2012 study by SKM on the economic benefits of wind farms in Australia found that, for every 50 MW in capacity, a wind farm delivered these benefits:

Construction:

  • Direct employment of up to 48 construction workers, with each worker typically spending around $25,000 in the local area in shops, restaurants, hotels and other services (a total of up to $1.2 million)
  • Indirect employment of approximately 160 people locally, 504 state jobs, and 795 nationwide jobs

Operations:

Depending on project sizing, Alectown may employ 3-5 full time. Approx 150 during construction in a range of roles, from vegetation maintenance to turbine maintenance.

It is also a core principle of our business model to maximise the number of jobs and contracts filled by local residents.

How much do renewables cost compared with other energy sources?
The current cost of wholesale energy is $80-$100 per MWh on average. This comprises of existing coal, existing gas and renewable energy. The wholesale cost of large-scale renewable energy is considerably lower than this at approximately $40 per MWh.

The wholesale costs of the individual sources of generation in 2020 are:

  • Existing coal: approximately $30-$60 per megawatt hour;
  • New large-scale renewables: approximately $40 per MWh;
  • Gas generation: approximately $120 per megawatt hour; and
  • New coal: approximately $90+ per megawatt hour.
Who pays for any road upgrades required?
Neoen pays for any upgrades to State or Local Government or landowner roads required for transporting wind turbine components to site. If we damage roads, we will pay for repairs.
Who will pay for any electrical transmission upgrades required?
Neoen pays for any electrical transmission upgrades necessary to connect and operate the project in the electricity grid. This includes construction and maintenance costs for the life of the project.
Does Neoen require government subsidies to build its projects?
Neoen does not require government subsidies to finance its projects. We finance our projects through a combination of our own equity and long-term bank loans. However, we sometimes enter into agreements with governments or businesses to sell the power produced by our projects.
Who assesses the projects?
All Neoen projects meet strict State and Federal Government regulations and are assessed under these regulations. We work closely with governments to ensure we meet all legal requirements and exceed these requirements wherever possible.
Do wind farms cause property values to decrease?
Studies into the potential impact of wind farm developments on property prices, including by the NSW Valuer-General (2009) and Urbis (2016), have concluded there is insufficient evidence to suggest wind farms can be linked to adverse impacts on property prices.

Health And Culture

Are there any health risks associated with wind farms?
There are nearly 200,000 wind turbines installed worldwide — many of them in more densely populated areas close to houses.
Some 17 reviews of research literature conducted by leading health and research organisations from all over the world, including the World Health Organisation, Australia’s National Health and Medical Research Centre, the UK Health Protection Agency and the US National Research Council, have concluded there is no published evidence to positively link wind turbines with adverse health effects.
Can wind turbines’ noise affect local residents?
Before it can operate, a wind farm has to demonstrate that noise levels at neighbouring residences will meet strict noise limits. These limits are designed to ensure that noise from a wind farm is not intrusive for the average person.
Will the project reduce air quality?
Monitoring of dust levels during construction is a basic requirement of each project. Dust generating activities are assessed during windy conditions and are stopped and rescheduled where adequate control of dust generation cannot be achieved.
Visual observation of machinery is undertaken during site inspections in addition to daily pre-start checks which ensure all machinery has appropriate emission control devices, is in good working order and is maintained correctly.
Is cultural heritage taken into consideration?
Neoen complies with all legislation, including laws regarding the protection of cultural heritage. A cultural heritage assessment forms part of initial studies as does consultation with local Indigenous groups to ensure cultural heritage is protected.

Environment

Do wind farms or solar panels impact flora and fauna?

We engage specialist consultants for detailed flora and fauna surveys to determine the ecological attributes of the land.

On all of our projects, we aim to minimise the impact on flora and fauna by designing projects outside areas of high conservation significance, and adopting control measures during construction.

During the detailed design, wind turbines will be micro-sited to minimise the potential impact on fauna habitat. Turbine heights will be selected to minimise the overlap between rotor swept area and bird flight heights.

Other mitigation measures include:

  • preparing management plans
  • identifying ‘no-go zones’ within the project site
  • conducting pre-clearance surveys

We also consult with government departments of environment and biodiversity throughout development, construction and operation of projects, as well as local non-government organisations.

Do wind turbines affect farm/domestic animals?
Neoen built and operates the Hornsdale Wind Farm across numerous properties near Jamestown in South Australia.
Stock including sheep and cattle take a couple of days to get used to wind turbines, and then are very comfortable with them – they rub up against turbines and use the shade from the towers during summer.
Do wind farms harm birds?

While wind farms are sometimes said to threaten birds, an energy governance study completed in Singapore has shown that wind farms harm 17 times fewer birds per unit of electricity produced than fossil fuel generation.

Studies show that wind farms are probably responsible for impacting birds at rates that are:
• 400 times fewer than cars
• 500 times fewer than pesticides
• 1200 times fewer than high-tension wires

Larger, modern turbines have blades that are well above the flight paths of the vast majority of birds.

The main exception is raptors, and we carry out detailed nest surveys and place generous buffers of 1 to 2km around any viable nest that is found. There is also evidence to suggest that raptors adjust to the presence of turbines and will avoid the blades.