Wind Power Development Australia Pty Ltd (a wholly owned subsidiary of Vestas) has two active development applications with Toowoomba Regional Council. The development applications seek permission to install a meteorological mast at two nominated locations, one on a property near the Gore Highway in Captains Mountain and a second mast on a property at Blackwell Road, Captains Mountain.
What is a meteorological mast used for?
The purpose of the meteorological masts is to undertake wind and weather monitoring at various heights above ground level. This data will be used to help Vestas clearly define the wind speeds at the site – a notoriously difficult thing to model and predict! Wind farm development projects require long-term wind data sets to accurately estimate the expected energy that could be generated by the project.
Meteorological masts are also used at airports and for general meteorological purposes, like weather forecasting.
Is this part of the wind farm development?
These applications do not provide development consent for a wind farm and are considered separate from a wind farm approval process. The approval process that will be followed for the proposed Captains Mountain Wind Farm is outlined on our website’s planning and environment page:
The masts will be temporary, and Vestas will be responsible for taking them down at the end of their use.
What will the meteorological masts look like?
Each mast is a very thin steel lattice structure, just wide enough for a trained technician to climb. The masts will be fitted with small sensors to provide measurements of wind speed, direction, temperature and humidity. They will be approximately 100m in height and supported by guy wires, with aviation safety markers. The first image below shows a typical meteorological mast.
Whilst the masts are very tall structures, they tend to blend into the skyline because they are thin and transparent. The second image below is of a mast (identical to the proposed) at a distance of 720m away to demonstrate this effect.
What will be the impacts during construction and operation?
Each mast will be installed over the span of about one working week and will be unmanned once operational. They will be fitted with anti-climb protection and locked to prevent unwanted access. Vestas will conduct routine maintenance on each mast roughly every 4-6 months, using a standard light vehicle. The masts are self-powered at low-voltages, with no underground power cables, and fitted with lightning protection. We have selected a cleared area for both installations, so we have no plans to remove vegetation prior to installing or when accessing the masts.
Details of these applications can be found on Toowoomba Regional Council’s application register via the following links: