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Permanent jobs on the horizon

Thursday, 5th April, 2018

The Silverton Wind Farm which now employs about 150 people, will provide permanent jobs for 10 people once finished.PICTURE: Kara de Groot The Silverton Wind Farm which now employs about 150 people, will provide permanent jobs for 10 people once finished.PICTURE: Kara de Groot

By Kara de Groot

The Silverton Wind Farm will provide permanent jobs for 10 people once construction has finished.

The project, which is expected to be completed by mid-year, now employs about 150 people, with about 40 per cent of them local, according to AGL project manager Adam Mackett.

He said the 10 full-time jobs when construction has finished and the wind farm is generating power will be in maintenance.

“The lead technician is someone who’s had experience on other windfarms, so unless someone local has that experience, typically the lead comes from a different state, and they settle in Broken Hill with family and sometimes children,” Mr Mackett said. 

“The other technician roles typically are filled by people with mechanical and electrical knowledge, and we have some of those people working on the job at the moment, so that will depend on how they perform during commissioning and how eager they are to stay on.

“But they will all be locally-based and we expect a high proportion of them to be locals already.”

The wind farm will employ a larger number of maintenance workers than the solar farm due to the different nature of the projects, Mr Mackett said.

He said the solar farm, which employs one person for maintenance, has no moving parts and so it doesn’t require as much work to keep going.

“The wind farm is a bit like the Sydney Harbour Bridge where you start painting at one end, get to the end and go back and start again; there’s that sort of ongoing maintenance on the parts,” Mr Mackett said.

“The wind turbine will have 58 turbines in a location four times bigger than the solar plant.”

While there hasn’t been any hail storms since construction of the wind farm started, Mr Mackett said they have systems in place for those events.

He said storms were the biggest factor to watch out for in the case of wind farms.

“Lightning is something we’re constantly monitoring for, and on occasions where there is lightning detected we evacuate the hills,” Mr Mackett said.

“The turbines have lighting protection, so that it travels through the blades, into the ground, and then there’s an earthing system under them in the ground.”

The Silverton wind farm is expected to power 137,000 homes once it starts generating, with Far West homes getting the first of the power.

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