Albany Wind Farm
The Albany Wind Farm produces 80 percent of Albany's electricity needs. It was the largest wind farm in the Southern Hemisphere when opened in 2001.
Initially, the Wind Farm was created using twelve 1.8-megawatt E66 Enercon turbines imported from Germany. These were placed on the 80-metre cliff at Sand patch, about 12 km from the Albany City centre, facing the Southern Ocean.
Each 65-metre tall tower is topped with huge nose cone and three fibreglass and kevlar blades, weighing some 14 tonnes. Each blade is 35 metres long. The speed at the blade tips can reach 270 kph.
The towers automatically track the wind and adjust the blade pitch to maximise the power harvested, generating useful power from a slight breeze of just 7 kph. Designed to withstand lightning strikes, the towers will shut down automatically at high winds over 120 kph.
In 2011, a further six 2.3-megawatt E70 Enercon turbines were added to form the adjacent Grassmere Wind Farm, bringing the total capacity to 35.4 megawatts. This generates about 80% of Albany's electricity needs, saving about 109,000 tonnes of CO<sub>2</sub> emissions annually. Because of the clifftop location, adequate wind is nearly always available.
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The Albany Wind Farm is owned by Verve Energy, also responsible for wind farms at Esperance and Kalbarri. During construction, great care was taken to preserve the natural bush setting and native flora.
Facilities include convenient parking, assessible toilets, informative signage and a series of scenic lookouts networked by meandering pathways and boardwalks and a connection to the Bibbulmun Track. Sand Patch lookout with its spectacular views of the Southern Ocean is just a short walk from the car park.
The Wind Farm is open to the public every day, free of charge.
Article updated 19/04/2020.