Wind towers on the way

Last night saw the Silverton Wind Farm Community Consultative Committee meet in Silverton to discuss the project as well as related concerns.

Representatives from the Silverton Village Committee, AGL, TransGrid and CATCON, as well as local landowners and residents attended the meeting, which provided updates on the project and improvements to Silverton.

AGL Silverton Wind Farm project manager, Adam Mackett, said that the first shipment of turbine components had arrived in Port Adelaide at the beginning of this month, and are expected to arrive starting next week.

Sixty-five-metre-long turbine blades will be transported by truck up to the site, along with the bases and other turbine components.

Fifty-eight turbines will be installed at the wind farm, with the parts arriving this month, in late December and at the end of February. This was the primary reason for the Silverton Road upgrades, which were completed on Wednesday according to Mr Mackett.

A number of extended stopping bays for trucks have also been added to the Silverton Road, to allow the extra-long trucks transporting the turbine parts to pull over and allow other vehicles to pass.

Mr Mackett said that 81 per cent of the 58 wind turbine foundations have now been excavated, and 53 per cent of the concrete bases have been poured, meaning work can commence as soon as the parts arrive.

He did warn however that this was contingent on wind conditions, saying that construction had to wait for less windy periods to construct the tall structures.

“The turbines are basically like sails,” Mr Mackett said.

“So you can imagine when it’s windy, trying to crane it up, what that could do.”

TransGrid Project Director, Jeremy Roberts, said that his side of the project has completed the switch bay at the Broken Hill substation, which now needs to be energised.

He said that the next stage, putting up transmission towers, had been slower than expected as more blasting had been required to get through the hard rock to build tower bases.

“We’re now in the process of putting up transmission lines,” Mr Roberts said.

“We’ll have a helicopter doing that, so pretty soon you might see one in the sky. Once it’s laid the line, we’ll have crews come in to pull it through and connect it into place.”

The subjects that most interested Silverton residents was the updates on the Silverton Community Fund and mobile phone coverage.

AGL has set up a Silverton Community Fund, which they will provide $15,000 per year plus CPI for the life of the wind farm, which is projected to be 25 years.

Mr Mackett said AGL and Telstra had been in conversation about the possibility of a macro mobile base station, but costs and location issues meant that may not be the most viable option.

He said a ‘monopole’ seems like the most viable option.

“Telstra and AGL are more confident in the idea of a 20 metre tall monopole which would provide 4G coverage to Silverton Village,” Mr Mackett said.

“AGL are preparing to engage with crown lands to start this process, although we will be looking further into monopole placement to ensure it doesn’t interfere with Eldee Station’s set up,” he said.

“What we want to do is try and get something done soon to be a benefit to the community.”

AGL will also be providing all leaseholders and residence within 10km of the project with 5kW solar PV and a domestic water tank. House inspections for solar panel fitting will commence in December, and consist of structural and electrical switchboard checks, as well as checks for asbestos and other hazardous materials.

Mr Mackett said the solar work is expected to be completed in early 2018, and inspections for domestic water tanks will begin once that work has commenced.

He said anyone interested in any further information on the wind farm project can go to the AGL website, or visit the Silverton information centre.

Drone footage of the construction progress is also available at the centre.

The next community consultative committee is expected to be held at the end of January.