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Western Power has begun facilitating the safe road transportation of wind turbine components, including 73 metre blades, from the Port of Bunbury to the project site for Enel Green Power’s Flat Rocks Wind Farm Stage 1.

Western Power is required, by Main Roads WA, to authorise all oversized load movements around the State where the load is 4.3m or higher.

Western Power lifts powerlines, moves infrastructure and provides support for all sorts of large load movements including mining equipment, houses, boats, farming equipment, trees, zoo animals (we’ve previously assisted with moving giraffes to and from Perth Zoo) and key equipment for industry.

The transportation of the Flat Rocks infrastructure began earlier this month and involves around 180 oversized loads travelling about 250km from the Port via Coalfields Road, Albany Highway and Warrenup Road to the project site near Kojonup.

Western Power Executive Manager of Asset Operations Zane Christmas said while requests to facilitate large load movements were not unusual, this was of particular importance due to the size of the loads and the transformational change underway in increasing renewable energy towards net zero.

“These tower components, hubs, and blades will be used for the construction of 18 wind turbines at the Flat Rock Wind Farm Stage 1 near Kojonup,” he said.

“Collaborating with renewable energy businesses is important in working towards cleaner energy future and supporting projects such as equipment transportation is one of the many ways that we can decarbonise the grid.”

Mr Christmas said facilitating the movement of large equipment like this was a complex process that required careful planning.

“Many factors go into planning transportation like this, we consider dimensions, route and timeframes to mitigate impact on the community and other road users as well as variables such as the number of units and dimensions of the loads to be transported,” he said.

“Making sure these huge components can physically be moved past our infrastructure is just one part of the job, it’s also vital that the impact on the electricity network is considered through measuring, moving or switching the network to ensure the load can be safely transported.

“For this project, up to six months was spent on planning and scoping the moves, with a month on the works required to facilitate them, including pole removal and reinstatements – a very large job.

“Our role in these moves is to understand what’s required and make determinations on how best to accommodate the efficient movement of the loads while minimising the impact on the community – the safe and reliable delivery of power supply is always a priority for us.

“As part of the transportation we follow large loads to ensure the move is completed to our standards and that there aren’t any issues. It’s part of our duty of care and a responsibility that we take very seriously.”

Western Power is working to connect the 73.9MW Flat Rocks Wind Farm Stage 1 to a 132KV transmission line which runs from Albany to Kojonup.

The scope of works include associated secondary system works at Albany and Kojonup substations and building a Western Power switch yard at the site, another way we’re facilitating the connection of renewable generators to the South West Interconnected System.

The Flat Rocks Wind Farm Stage 1 is owned by Enel Green Power. It is anticipated to be fully operational in 2024, producing approximately 315GWh of energy per year.

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