Challicum Hills wind farm

The 52.5 MW Challicum Hills wind farm was Australia’s largest wind farm when completed in August 2003.

Located on private farming land just east of Ararat, in western Victoria, the project generates enough clean electricity to supply approximately 26,000 homes each year and has created significant employment, investment and tourism opportunities in the region.

The operations of the Challicum Hills wind farm abate 140,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions each year. Over its 25-year life, it will help reduce greenhouse pollution by more than 3.5 million tonnes.

Construction commenced in October 2002 once Pacific Hydro had managed local concerns and effected plans to minimise disturbance during the construction phase. Half of the A$76 million project cost was spent generating new investment in the local economy through construction, operation and maintenance.

Each of the seven landholders involved receives revenue payments for the life of the wind farm and since the 35 turbines and roads take up only 1 per cent of the land, farming is able to continue uninterrupted.

Re-vegetation programs are increasing native flora which will help to protect local biodiversity and improve the habitat of indigenous wildlife.

Gaining the support of the community was vital, and extensive consultation began with local community members and businesses on a wide range of issues including the project’s visual impact, its effect on birdlife, native vegetation and indigenous cultural heritage.