Citizens campaigning against climate change in Australia

Hepburn Wind Australia

Sustainability is at the heart of our day-to-day activities at Senvion. With our products, we supply the technology to convert wind energy to electricity. This is our contribution to global environmental protection. In doing so, we help nations and local authorities to meet their environmental targets. Senvion is a strong partner in shaping a sustainable energy supply for the future – from the energy turnaround in Germany to the European Union’s 20-20-20 targets and the aims of local authorities worldwide that have opted to obtain all their electricity from wind energy on a self-sufficient basis.

More than 10 gigawatts renewable energy

MM82 Cape Nelson

Senvion has installed 5,341 wind turbines with a total capacity of 10 gigawatts worldwide. The milestone of the 5,000th turbine was achieved in October 2013, when connected to the grid in a community wind farm in Baden-Württemberg, Germany.

In total, our turbines produced more than 22 billion kilowatt hours of renewable energy during the past fiscal year, and can supply more than 17.4 million people with electricity1 – that is roughly equivalent to half of the population of Canada.

Our turbines save some 17.2 million tonnes of CO2 equivalents per year,2 which equates to the emissions from more than 9.5 million modern mid-size passenger cars.3 It is no coincidence that our 5,000th turbine was installed in a community wind farm: in the 2013/14 fiscal year, roughly 30 per cent of new turbines in Germany, the home market of Senvion, were installed in community wind farms.

More than half of all new orders placed in Germany in the past fiscal year are for community wind farm projects.

Intensive commitment

Bald Hills Wind Farm

This is most likely because at Senvion, we are always actively involved – just as much in a 300-megawatt offshore project as in the construction of two onshore turbines for private investors. We are helped here by our international positioning, which enables the transfer of experience between the markets.

Take Daylesford, for example – a small town of 2,000 households in the Australian local government area of Hepburn Shire. Here, a group of citizens formed an association called Hepburn Wind to counter climate change in Australia. Their dream was to build Australia’s first community wind farm, generating more energy than is needed to cover the local electricity requirement.

To this end, we provided two MM82 wind turbines and benefited from the experience that we gained while installing turnkey community wind farms in other countries, particularly in Germany. “A project of this scale may not seem lucrative to everyone as the time spent on working with the client in the planning and design of the wind farm and concluding of contracts can quickly reach the kind of levels that are hardly attractive from a financial perspective,” says Chris Judd, Managing Director of Senvion Australia.

“Our experience with this kind and size of projects enabled us to handle this project efficiently and assist the local Hepburn authority in building their wind farm.”

A new territory for investors

MM82 Cape Bridgewater

The 1,600 members of the Hepburn Wind association raised a total of EUR 6.6 million themselves.

In addition, installation of the wind farm was subsidised by the state of Victoria to the tune of EUR 1.2 million, while Bendigo and Adelaide Bank provided a loan of EUR 2.1 million.

Securing this amount of money is a remarkable achievement, especially considering that this kind of wind farm concept was totally new in Australia at the time.

Purchase argument: reliability in hot climates

Ghost Patrol Hepburn Springs Windfarm

Senvion was chosen as the provider because Hepburn Wind only wanted to invest in proven, reliable wind turbines and Senvion was willing to supply a turnkey wind farm. With a view to future major projects, Hepburn provided the ideal opportunity for the Senvion Australia team to test the delivery of turnkey wind farms.

The project posed several challenges for the engineers. For example, a plan for connecting the 4.1 MW wind farm to a weak 22 kV electricity distribution network situated in a rural environment had to be devised – in line with the specifications of the local electricity company.

In order to ensure operation under Australia’s extreme temperatures, we installed special hot climate versions of our turbines.4 The enhanced cooling of the converter ensures that critical components are kept cool and increases the turbine’s maximum operational temperature to 40 degrees Celsius.

Chris Judd, Managing Director Australia

Hepburn Wind shows that a movement to develop sustainable energy production can also stem from a small group of committed citizens.

 

Chris Judd,
Managing Director Australia

Small commitment with great impact

45-year-old Chris Judd remains enthusiastic about the pilot project: “Hepburn Wind is a milestone for wind energy in Australia. Wind power is usually generated in large wind farms in Australia – with investment companies or public utilities in the background. This project shows that a movement to develop sustainable energy production can also stem from a small group of committed citizens.

 

The small-scale citizens’ project has now become an Australia-wide movement: together with the Coalition for Community Energy, Hepburn Wind supports other communities that want to invest in renewable energy projects and lobbies the Australian government for greater support of municipal wind projects. The effort that Senvion has put into the project has been well rewarded, as earlier this year we contracted a second project for three MM92 turbines with the same developer that was behind the Hepburn Wind project. “It fills me with pride that Senvion has played a part in helping to make this special project such a success,” says Chris Judd. Pride and passion for wind energy and environmental responsibility are deeply rooted in our DNA. They are the foundation for commercially sustainable success.

1 Calculation based on a three-person household with mean electricity consumption of 3,800 kilowatt hours (kWh) per year.
2 Calculation based on the German energy mix and figures provided by the German Federal Environmental Agency (Umweltbundesamt) in its report ”Emissionen erneuerbarer Energieträger”.
3 Calculation based on a passenger car with CO2 emissions of 150 g per kilometre and 12,000 kilometres travelled annually.