Snowtown Stage II
On completion, Snowtown Stage II wind farm will sustainably generate enough electricity to power the equivalent of 170,000 South Australian homes - but reducing greenhouse gases isn't the only positive benefit of the development. TrustPower and its partners are working alongside the local Snowtown community, to bring diverse benefits to both people and the environment.
TrustPower's strong relationship with the local community ensures a united approach to addressing issues that are important to Snowtown and the surrounding area. We work closely with Aboriginal heritage groups, the Snowtown Lions Club, local bodies and other community organisations. All these partnerships help us gain an in-depth understanding of key issues.
We have become a proactive and trusted member of the community, providing support through the Lend A Hand Foundation. We make an annual contribution, and Snowtown Lions Club receives, reviews and approves applications for funding for projects. This successful partnership has led to a wide range of projects, all bringing value to the community.
Our wind farm construction contractor, Siemens Energy, and their consortium partners CatCon and Consolidated Power Projects, similarly recognise the importance of strong community links. The companies have worked closely with the County Fire Service and heritage groups, and together with the community have addressed issues such as fire fighting response and heritage monitoring. They further strengthen the bond by regularly utilising local contractors and services.
In addition, Siemens and their consortium's personnel provide technical expertise and construction support for community projects such as the Snowtown Skateboard Park.
"Siemens will be an integral part of the Snowtown Community, both now and for the next 15 years," emphasised Siemens Vice President David Pryke. "We see our support of Lend A Hand as confirming our involvement in the future of this community. We're seeking to gain a greater understanding of local needs, and the areas where a helping hand would be of benefit."
For TrustPower and its contractors, our support and commitment to the needs of the wider Snowtown community will remain a key focus, for the life of the Snowtown Wind Farm.
The sustainable generation of electricity by Snowtown Stage II will deliver very clear environmental worth. The wind farm is expected to generate 985GWh per annum: the equivalent of powering 170,000 South Australian homes. This clean generation will result in an annual 700,000 tonne reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, CO2, making a significant contribution to the Australian Federal Government's Renewable Energy Target.
The environmental benefits extend beyond generation itself. TrustPower has developed a strong relationship with the Native Vegetation Council of South Australia. In what's been termed a "win-win" for the environment, 102ha of degraded native grassland on the South Hummocks is now benefiting from an innovative management plan.
Under the Native Vegetation Act 1991, we are required to provide an environmental benefit offset for the clearance of vegetation needed to construct stage II of the wind farm. Such offsets are often achieved by paying money into a fund used by the Native Vegetation Council. Instead, an alternate approach has been agreed, bringing additional benefit. Working with the Mid North Grasslands Working Group, we have identified a native grasslands offset area, on a property north-east of Kulpara township.
A Native Vegetation Management Plan has been implemented. This establishes a rotational grazing programme, together with weed management and feral animal control to improve biodiversity outcomes. The plan establishes a number of "cells", or paddocks, with watering facilities for stock. It includes annual surveys and reporting, so management can be refined over time.
"I think it's just great, a really innovative solution," said Mid North Grasslands Working Group member Millie Nichols. "This will result in an important grassland area being sustainably managed for the long term. People don't often recognise the value of these grasslands and this agreement will set a standard for the future."
Bruce Munday, Chair of the Native Vegetation Assessment Panel, noted the benefits will be all-round: "Landowners are now committed to using rotational grazing as a tool for improving the overall condition of the grassland communities - primarily for biodiversity conservation purposes, but also as a way of improving grassland condition for domestic livestock."