The Albany Wind Farm on our Amazing South Coast is one of the most spectacular and largest wind farms in Australia.
It is a wind power station owned by Verve Energy. It has 18 wind turbines, with a maximum generating capacity of 35.4 MW of electricity. It was commissioned in October 2001, after ten years of planning. The wind farm has the capacity to produce 80 per cent of the electricity requirements of Albany.
The farm originally had 12 wind turbines, with 6 extra turbines installed in 2011. The original turbines are ENERCON model E66, each with three 35 metres (115 ft) long blades made from fibreglass and kevlar (making them very flexible in order to withstand any conditions) and are fitted to 65 metres (213 ft) towers. The nose cone which the blades attach to weighs around 14 tonnes. These turbines are the largest that have been installed in the southern hemisphere. The turbines operate automatically, with the three blades adjusted to make best use of power output from any wind direction or strength. They have been designed to withstand the strongest winds likely in Albany and incorporate special lightning protection. Each turbine has a rating of 1.8 MW and is able to produce electrical energy at wind speeds of 7–130 kilometres per hour (4–70 kn) at which the turbines are shut down. Maximum output is achieved at a wind speed of 50 kilometres per hour (27 kn). The 6 new turbines installed in 2011 are ENERCON model E70 with a rating of 2.3 MW. The turbines were made in Germany.
Albany wind farm is situated on the coast about 12 kilometres (7 mi) south-west of the city. It is in an elevated position at approximately 80 metres (262 ft) above the Southern Ocean. The height and locality is designed to maximise exploitation of local wind conditions, and combined with the short distance to the main electricity transmission system make this an outstanding wind farm site.
The wind farm walk offers spectacular views of the eco-friendly turbines along the Torndirrup Peninsula at Sand Patch.