THE view from the top of the turbines at Macarthur is apparently something to behold.
For miles and miles, you can see farmland that not only still operates as functioning beef and sheep properties, but will carry the potential to generate enough electricity to power 220,000 homes.
Apparently it’s a great view — I wouldn’t know. Just as it got to my turn to take the tiny elevator up and then climb the ladder into the little control room behind the blades, a thunderstorm started rolling in. Being at the top of a turbine tower in a lightning storm isn’t a good idea.
This has led to the theory that there may be an unexpected benefit from wind farms that no one had thought about — it’s possible they could reduce lightning strike bushfires by taking the hit instead of the dry grasslands.
That’s just a theory at this stage. What is a fact is that soon there will be 140 completed turbines (about 130 are finished) spanning three properties at the Macarthur wind farm, pumping power into a nearby power station.
Each tower is about the same height as the light towers at the MCG and all together they make up the largest wind farm by megawatts in the southern hemisphere.
The first turbines are already producing power. Each turbine is switched on and undergoes a 10-day reliability test, and if they pass they’re good to go.
Soon, about 16 people will remain at the site that once employed about 450 and poured about $245 million into the local economy.
The workers may be gone, but Moyne Shire will continue to collect sizeable rates from the farm and Victorians will reap the rewards of clean, green electricity.