Albany Wind Farm, Sand Patch Road
A visit to the Albany Windfarm is a must do while staying in Albany. Firstly to view the huge turbines and not really but secondly to view the beautiful unspoilt coastline.
The windfarm was constructed by Verve Energy in October 2001 after ten years of planning with 12 wind turbines. In 2011 another 6 turbines were added to the site. The 18 wind turbines are the largest that have ever been installed in the southern hemisphere. They tower 65m above the ground and have three 35m blades. The wind farm has the capacity to produce 80% of the electricity requirements for Albany.
One of the amazing things about this wind farm is the proximity and access to the magnificent coast it sits on. Starting with a good carpark which leads you to paths and wooden boardwalks for you to both enjoy the natural views and to get up close to the wind farm. Information plaques and sign posts will have you exploring all that is there to explore. The Bibbulmun Track which is the hiking track that leads from Kalamunda Perth to Albany connects to the wind farm. Take the time to include your walking shoes and explore some of these paths as you will be rewarded with some maginficent views.
So you can negotiate the steep sand cliffs, wooden railings and steps will lead you to a small lookout which if visited between May & October you may be rewarded with the sighting of a whale. If not you will still see the awesome coastline and be able to take some great photos as well.
The first stage of the site, which opened in October 2001, required the installation of 12, 1.8MW E66 Enercon turbines, each with three 35m long fibreglass and kevlar blades fitted to 65m towers. The site was extended at the end of 2011, when six E70 Enercon 2.3MW turbines were added - this area of the farm is known as Grasmere. These 18 turbines have the capacity to produce 35.4MW of electricity which meets 80 per cent of Albany’s electricity needs.
The E70 turbines are the largest installed in the southern hemisphere, have special lightning protection and were designed to withstand Albany’s strongest winds. To maximise the energy produced, the blades pivot and the turbines automatically turn to face into the wind.
The turbines appear to move very slowly at top speed, but in fact the blades ends are travelling at around 290kmh. The farm has a great benefit to the environment, lowering greenhouse gas emissions by about 109,000 tonnes per year, as less coal and gas are used at power stations.
The turbines don’t have gearboxes, so require a minimum of maintenance and operate at variable speeds, allowing the blades to speed up and slow down with the wind. A breeze as low as 7kmh will set the blades turning but when the wind speed reaches 120kmh, the turbines slow down to prevent damage. On average there are just seven days a year when the wind is not strong enough to turn the turbines.
Click on to watch the youtube video. So lucky to have these beautiful views!!!!