The Ararat Windfarm is the first of its kind in Victoria and in was quickly accredited as a Green Power Generator under the National GreenPower Accreditation Program. The $450 million dollar project will support the local economy while protecting natural resources and creating clean green electricity.
Hanson worked in conjunction with Downer Australia to create the windfarm for project-developer, RES. Ben Davis was Production Supervisor for the project, working alongside a strong team featuring all of Hanson’s Victoria Country West operations. Ben believes Craig Weatherson (Ballarat Concrete), Tony Nash (Plant Manager Hamilton, Heywood & Stawell), Alex Carlin (Stawell Concrete Batcher), Shaun Farnsworth (Project Batcher), Dwayne Drake (Heywood Quarry), and the Drivers from Ballarat, Hamilton, Heywood and Stawell deserve special recognition for their fantastic work during the project.
The original Windfarm project-plans called for approximately 25,000m3 of concrete, with 75 turbines each 135m high and requiring approximately 350m3. To ensure a dedicated supply of concrete to the windfarm site, while still maintaining standard production in the area, one of the Hanson mobile concrete batching plants was relocated from Western Australia to Ararat. Concrete was used not only in the construction of the turbines for the wind farm, but also in the surrounding and supporting structures; these included slabs for gantries and the back-up generator; bund Walls, fire walls, and auxiliary walls; as well as plinths and slabs for the main transformer. The widely varying construction needs called for a range of mixes from 15mPa all the way through to 40 mPa.
The concrete mixes used on the windfarm project were specially designed by the Hanson technical department to meet both the project technical requirements and also the needs of the concrete placers, and project engineers. One method used to ensure mixes used were fit for task was a “hot box trial” conducted prior to project commencement. Differing ratios of additives and water were trialled in the test mixes with the technical team then monitoring core temperature and temperature rise over 28 days.
Another challenge in providing concrete supply to the windfarm was the availability of raw materials. Cement and aggregates had to be stockpiled at the mobile plant to ensure continuous supply of concrete at a minimum pouring rate of 50m3 per hour. The site was required to hold 125% capacity of the required materials for the projected day’s usage. This proved to be quite a logistical challenge as the plant’s aggregate source was two hours away in Heywood and the cement source at least three hours away in Port Melbourne. Careful planning and open communication from the project team meant that raw materials arrived in time to start each pour.
After months of hard work, in February 2017, the final of 75 turbines at the Windfarm was erected and the operation was off and running, generating enough green electricity to power 120,000 homes. The success of the Ararat Windfarm has resulted in Hanson being awarded another windfarm project in the area with work on the Bulgana Green Energy Hub to begin near Stawell later this year. Ben Davis is excited to be working on another windfarm, this time with Chris Boak and the National Mobile Projects team.