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Reaching new heights
Around 30 CFA staff and volunteers from District 5, along with SES and Ambulance Victoria personnel, visited the new Goldwind wind farm in Morton’s Lane, Woodhouse, west of Dunkeld.
The Morton’s Lane Wind Farm houses 13 Goldwind GW82/1500 wind turbines (82m rotor diameter) with each unit rated at 1500kW maximum capacity. At maximum output enough power to turn on 20,000 kettles at the same time. The project will provide 17,000 houses worth of renewable energy into the National Electricity Grid.
The visit to the facility was broken into two sessions by Goldwind, with CFA and AV staff undertaking a review the company’s Emergency Response Plans (ERP) to ensure compliance with statutory standards during the morning session.
Whilst the company’s ERPs were quite detailed, CFA and AV staff were able to provide insight about the usual practices and procedures they would follow in the event of an emergency at the wind farm. Following that consultation process, Goldwind management elected to make some amendments to the current ERP’s, based on the information provided.
In the afternoon, volunteers from local brigades including Woodhouse, Dunkeld, Penshurst and Hamilton, as well as career staff from Warrnambool, and SES and AV members were given an induction and overview of the facility by Goldwind Project Services Manager, Jonathon Simmonds and Site Supervisor, John Aquilina.
Following this induction, personnel were taken on a familiarisation tour, including getting up close and personal with the 70 metre tall Number 3 wind turbine, which at maximum output produces up to
19.5 megawatts of renewably generated electricity.
Career staff from Warrnambool and Fiskville Specialist Response Instructor Mark Steven, along with Goldwind employee Steve Eldred climbed the tower to view the inner workings of the turbine, including access to the nose cone.
"Establishing good networks with the wind energy companies and being able to access the turbines gives us a better understanding of how CFA can effect a rescue both internally or externally”, said Mr Steven
“Being able to see the internal work space, including anchor points within the turbine provides a better awareness of how we can adapt and improve training in the future, as well as ensure the purchase of appropriate equipment to undertake the rescue”, added Mr Steven.
Visits to other wind farm sites have been planned in the not too distant the future allowing greater networking opportunities and knowledge sharing between the emergency service agencies and the renewable energy companies.