The Port of Fremantle is uniquely suited to a wind energy project. Planning approvals are simplified because the Port is an active industrial area with existing structures (cranes) of comparable height, and an ambient noise profile, which already exceeds that of a wind farm. Both the port, and the city of Fremantle are large users of electricity, so this is local generation right where it’s required.
There has been over $500,000 of wind monitoring, engineering design and feasibility studies conducted for this wind farm when it was first planned and approved. The locations proposed for the wind turbines are exposed to strong unobstructed winds from the South West, the “Fremantle Doctor”. In addition the project is situated on the “front lawn” of the State, presenting great iconic and promotional value and providing a platform for many of the ‘added-value’ activities proposed for the wind farm via its social enterprise model.
Detailed energy production models have been created based on over eight years of high-quality wind measurements recorded at the site. The City of Fremantle and the WA Planning Commission granted development approvals. From a heritage point of view, a wind energy project would continue Fremantle’s association with wind power from its earliest days of visiting sailing ships, to today’s yachting events.
Several key parameters have aligned to improve commercial viability:
- There is a long-term market for renewable energy certificates (deemed LGCs)
- Favourable exchange rate (over 80% of the project budget is allocated to overseas purchases, i.e. wind turbines and towers)
- Wind turbine prices are low
- Carbon pricing will continually improve the business case of the project
- There is a need for smaller projects distributed within the grid
- Most importantly, there is a need for action on climate change – this can be a path-making project, demonstrating utility-scale renewable energy within the built environment.