Cabling to harness the power of wind

The Macarthur Wind Farm in Western Victoria will power 220,000 homes, once its 140 turbines are grid-connected with 90km’s of ICN sourced Victorian-made underground cable.

ICN has been increasingly impressed by opportunities in renewable energy, and increasingly active in securing contracts for its clients.

'Investment in clean energy projects presents a massive opportunity for local firms,' says Peter McCracken from ICN’s Victorian office. 'There is a bias to local sourcing, because the whole philosophy is to keep a project’s environmental footprint as small as possible.'

One such project, and one of the largest, is the Macarthur Wind Farm in Western Victoria. Its 140 wind turbines each stand 84m high, with blades that span 112m and generate 3MW of power.

Peter saw an opportunity where others might not have: the 90kms of underground cable that connects that power to the grid.

Peter went to the project contractor, who were building the Macarthur Wind Farm for its owners, AGL Energy and Meridian Energy, to make sure they knew of the local sourcing options.

One such option was Olex Cables. Though bought by an international group in 2006, Olex Cables’ Melbourne plant and people represent 55 years of Australian industry and history.

'We set about working with the project contractor, the Victorian Government, Olex Cables and all of their partners to ensure Olex Cables had every possible chance.'

Olex Cables’ advantage was that its new plant could make longer cable sections, and fewer joins meant a more reliable cable system. A local supplier would also be able to deliver better service over the life of the Macarthur project. In the end, Olex Cables’ case was irresistible.

Olex Cables’ Geoffrey Simpson knows that it may not have been so. 'This opportunity may have slipped had it not been for Peter McCracken, who couldn’t have done more to introduce us to the right people at the right time, matching our proposal to Macarthur’s very specific needs.'

The new contract has made a big difference to the mood and profitability of Olex Cables’ Tottenham plant, and opened new doors for Olex Cables.

'By introducing us to Macarthur, ICN has introduced us to a whole new market sector,” is the way Mr Simpson sees it. “Our engineers now have the experience we need to tender on future renewable energy infrastructure.'

With Australia’s 2011 Energy White Paper calling for a quadrupling of renewable energy over the next 40 years, that’s a very good market sector for Olex Cables to be in.

ICN is Australia and New Zealand’s innovative industry matchmaker. If you’re a major project developer, ICN can put you in contact with the best suppliers. If you’re a supplier we will connect you with the best projects for your business.