The 7,500 hectare Hornsdale wind power project is currently under development by international renewable energy developer Neoen and is situated to the north of Jamestown in South Australia. Development of the site is progressing in stages with a number of turbines already installed at the 100 MW Hornsdale 1 wind farm and the commencement of construction at the 100 MW Hornsdale 2 wind farm. Upon completion, the overall capacity of the project is set to be 309 MW.
Despite recent political hurdles in Australia, the country’s wind power industry has expanded rapidly during the last decade, with 76 wind farms boasting a combined capacity of over 4,000 MW in 2015. Last year, these sites were responsible for 33.7 percent of the country’s clean energy production, and 4.9% of its total electricity. South Australia, with its hilly terrain, is an area of particularly strong wind resources and is a major contributor to these figures.
However, managing the impact of complex topography on the performance of wind farms in the region poses a challenge for project developers looking to make the most of this resource. OST was engaged to provide EYA services, taking into account the unique topography and layout of both sites and their impact on expected generation.
In particular, the proximity of the projects led to concerns regarding the wake effects of one wind farm site on the other. Similarly, the spacing of the turbines further increased the difficulty in assessing this wake impact, which if underestimated, risked creating potential generation shortfalls. Furthermore, a number of steep slopes across the site created areas of potential flow separation, adding further complexity to the task.
OST’s extensive experience in wake modelling of large onshore and offshore projects was critical in mitigating this wake effect. The company made use of site-specific wind turbine power curve guarantees, performance warranties and contract structure details to inform and strengthen its assessment of the sites’ predicted energy yields.
In addition, OST undertook flow model validations, making use of existing remote sensing data to validate wind shear measurements from on-site masts. The availability of a portable ground-based SoDAR unit at the projects ensured a means of obtaining accurate wind measurements, particularly on uneven terrain.
“As the number of wind farms in South Australia continues to increase, the area’s complex terrain offers fresh challenges for developers looking to assess the productivity of their sites” said Richard Abrams, Director, OST Energy. “Our collaboration with Neoen proved extremely fruitful, as we not only delivered the detailed yield assessments needed to underpin the project’s financing, but also provided reliance for Neoen and a further eight international lenders involved in the site.”
François Debaillon-Vesque, Project Manager at Neoen, added that the project was subject to particularly demanding time constraints, but that OST helped to overcome these by delivering consistent, high-quality reports, allowing Neoen to make timely, informed decisions.
OST is an Edif ERA company and an award winning, independent global engineering consultancy, specialising in investment support and technical advisory services for the renewable energy market. It provides unbiased specialist knowledge and a holistic approach which enables clients to gain accurate insights that they can rely on, in order to make decisions about renewable energy projects.
Established in 2008 by Oliver Soper and Simon Turner in Brighton, the business now employs over 120 renewable energy experts throughout the world in London, Brighton, Paris, Milan, Cape Town, Detroit, Mexico City, Sao Paulo, Santiago, Sydney and Delhi.
For additional information: