4 May 2023

$500 million Bango Wind Farm officially opens, powering 144,000 homes

| Edwina Mason
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man on wind turbine

Dr Andrew Forrest atop one of the 200-metre turbines near Boorowa. Photo: Squadron Energy.

As Andrew Forrest ascended a colossal wind turbine to wave the Australian flag near Boorowa, a trio of farmers stood quietly by.

They’d witnessed the official opening ceremonies for the Bango Wind Farm, bemused by the scatter of media scurrying around under grey skies and a nifty breeze.

For John and Jeremy McGrath, and Wal Archer, the scene was remarkable. Not so much the flag being hoisted atop the turbine – one of 46 scattered along the Kangiara ridgeline between Boorowa and Yass – but the fact that for the first time in their lives, they arrived at that point on the map by bus.

“I think that’s been the most surreal part of the day so far,” said Jeremy. “We’re usually up here on four-wheel bikes.”

The giant turbines on John and Jeremy McGrath’s Boorowa farm. Photo: Edwina Mason.

The McGraths are immensely proud that 15 years of discussion, planning and some mild disruption had led to the point where their 185-year-old farming enterprise – always home to sheep and crops – now houses one of the largest wind farms in NSW.

And it’s not just the McGraths. Along with Mr Archer, there are nine host landowners for Bango Wind Farm whose lives won’t change that much even though their skyline has.

There is, of course, the financial stability and an incredible 38 kilometres of internal roads, ramps and gates – a farmer’s dream – with enough rock left over to buttress erosion-prone creek beds.

Knowing their land can be harvested for good, preventing 543,000 tonnes of carbon emissions from being released into the atmosphere, also ticks a giant box in a world where climate change is rapidly creeping into their livelihood.

Each turbine reaches 200 metres from base to tip, and each blade is 77.4 metres long – and the wind farm’s combined output generates enough electricity to power 144,000 homes.

During construction, the project supported more than 320 jobs, which included 190 locals, and injected $190 million into the regional economy, with $3.9 million contributing to community projects and initiatives in the Yass and Hilltops shires over its life.

READ ALSO Historic mountain huts continue to rise from ashes of Black Summer bushfires

Bango Wind Farm’s turbines are now fully operational and generating clean, renewable energy for Squadron Energy – Australia’s largest renewable energy company and an offshoot of Andrew and Nicola Forrest’s Tattarang Group.

Dr Forrest said Friday’s opening of Bango Wind Farm was not only an important milestone for Squadron Energy. As he cut through the ceremonial ribbon to officially open the $500 million wind farm, he said it was “another cut in the throat of the fossil fuel industry”.

“As an industry, we need to deliver an average of 40 wind turbines a month to reach the Federal Government’s target of 82 per cent renewables by 2030,” he said.

“Today, we’re delivering 46 turbines in the first wind farm to come online in NSW in more than a year.

“We cannot underestimate the challenge in front of us and the urgency at which we all need to act to meet this target. Climate change is no longer a prediction; we are living right now in the era of fossil fuel-driven, global warming acceleration.

“As a group of companies, and particularly as Squadron, we must do all we can to help our nation eliminate pollution.

“Business, in full partnership with government, must work to do everything we can to bring our emissions down as a nation. Squadron will play a leading role in this, providing one-third of the energy required to reach 82 per cent renewables by 2030.”

Kangiara farmers Wal Archer and John McGrath at the Bango Wind Farm launch. Photo: Edwina Mason.

Squadron Energy CEO Jason Willoughby said he was thrilled to mark the opening of Bango, which follows Crudine Ridge Wind Farm near Mudgee entering operations in early 2022.

“This is another step forward for our company as we deliver on our 20 GW development pipeline of wind, solar and battery projects across Australia,” Mr Willoughby said.

“I’d like to extend my gratitude to all those who have contributed to this success, including our dedicated team and our valued partners, including our landowner hosts”.

Along with the operational Sapphire Wind Farm near Glen Innes, the opening of Bango Wind Farm means Squadron Energy is now supplying 80 per cent of the combined electricity needs of Sydney’s Eastern Distributor, Cross City Tunnel, Hills M2, Lane Cove Tunnel and WestConnex toll roads.

It also plays a crucial role in making groceries greener after Woolworths agreed to purchase electricity from Bango for about 30 per cent of its NSW energy needs, the equivalent of 108 supermarkets.

Snowy Hydro and Transurban have also signed power purchase agreements to buy electricity from Bango.

Original Article published by Edwina Mason on About Regional.

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Capital Retro9:54 am 06 May 23

Can you see anything in the first pic that is “made in Australia” apart from Dr Forrest? The Australian flag was probably made in China too.

And an Australian government enquiry determined that an average of $500K in taxpayer subsidy annually was paid for every wind turbine in Australia.

That’s the cost of “free” electricity folks.

Bob the impala9:26 am 08 May 23

Getting in your dose of misinformation from ‘Advance Australia’ again, Capital Retro? Do you understand RETs, their impact since Howard introduced them in 1997, or their decline in relevance?

Do you know what in that picture was made in Australia? If so, so what?

privatepublic7:37 pm 05 May 23

Thought I might add is the nuke reactors running the latest Gerald Ford Class Carrier (RRP US 12 billion drive away unladen)(still being tested), can run around 400,000 homes in Florida. Think constant aircon, widescreens, EV and the like. They do not occupy huge amounts of land and can shut down almost immediately. Just need good water supply.

Capital Retro9:56 am 06 May 23

That just makes so much common sense which means it will never happen in Australia.

privatepublic7:30 pm 05 May 23

Only present facts as of 19:15 according to https://www.energymatters.com.au/energy-efficiency/australian-electricity-statistics/
I am neither for nor against.

Just the three big eastern states, one warmer than the other, one I know is currently running a bauxite smelter and of course the states may be feeding each other as such. During the day solar appears to be like wind. NOTE the figures kept changing by tiny amounts while typing so adding up may not equal the total, but close enough.

QLD 7881 MW
Black Coal 5501 MW
Gas 1520 MW
Hydro 339 MW
Wind 412 MW
Battery 91 MW

NSW 8093 MW
Black Coal 6088 MW
Gas 906 MW
Hydro 910 MW
Wind 263 MW

Vic 5998 MW
Brown Coal 3860 MW
Gas 365 MW
Hydro 561 MW
Wind 1175 MW
Battery 22 MW

That’s all folks.

Unfortunately, your figures are meaningless unless you have a comparand. What were the figures like 6 months ago, 12 months ago, 5 years ago, 10 years ago … etc.?

Most Australians recognise that action on climate change involves a reduction in carbon emissions to achieve the net zero target by 2050. One major initiative, to that end, is progressively reducing reliance on fossil fuels for energy generation. All you’ve provided are single point in time statistics, which don’t prove/disprove anything.

Capital Retro11:50 am 06 May 23

Why are there no statistics for the ACT. I mean, we are number 1 on the virtue signaling chart.

privatepublic11:25 pm 06 May 23

As I said only providing facts. Just a snippet in one day, was not running a comparison. No need for a comparand, otherwise I would have stated.

privatepublic11:35 pm 06 May 23

CR not sure why the site does not include the ACT. Noted different sites use the same feed and none encompass the ACT. Possible could be included with the NSW figures, I have no idea to be frank, would be good to see.

privatepublic11:39 pm 06 May 23

Must add “I am neither for nor against”. Was not out to disprove/prove anything, just statistics.

OK … I guess if you like statistics purely for the sake of statistics then each to their own. I prefer to use statistics to demonstrate something and/or draw conclusions.

Capital Retro4:49 pm 05 May 23

I’ve been doing some research about the cost of running a bird blender that gives us “free” electricity.

Service and spare parts: 26%
Administration: 21%
Miscellaneous: 17%
Land rent: 18%
Insurance: 13%
Power from grid: 5%

And each one costs about $11 million to buy and erect with an enormous carbon footprint.

That’s a lot of groceries.

What a weird post, Capital Retro has just discovered that infrastructure costs money.

He’s really going to lose his mind when he finds out a 1000MW coal plant costs over 2 billion dollars, has an enormous carbon footprint to build, is even worse through operation and costs around $1million to cold start each time.

Capital Retro9:20 pm 05 May 23

Tell me then why China is building 2 new large coal powered generators every week?

Ironically, when the wind stops the bird blenders have to get power from the grid (probably gas or coal generated) to cold start them.

How much grid power does 46 bird blenders use?

“Tell me then why China is building 2 new large coal powered generators every week?”

Probably because they are dumb?

Particularly so when the overall utilisation of their existing coal fleet has been consistently going down because they are increasingly uneconomic to run.

Maybe you can tell me why they are also the country rolling out the greatest amount of renewable capacity in the world?

“Ironically, when the wind stops the bird blenders have to get power from the grid (probably gas or coal generated) to cold start them.”


Bob the impala9:36 am 08 May 23

Capital Retro’s source is a dedicated anti-windpower site where the first half dozen or more ‘papers’ are written by the same anti-windpower individual.

Capital Retro, how much power does it take to start a coal or nuclear facility? In neither case does it come from the plant before it has started and in both cases is far more than a wind turbine, so your (and Rosenbloom’s) point is the reverse of that which you wish! Oh, and the figures are wrong but I will leave that as an exercise for you to learn.

Everything else in your list is bog normal, as pointed out already by chewy14.

Green power and cheap electricity is an oxymoron

Bob the impala7:56 pm 05 May 23

Not touching that.

Capital Retro10:07 am 06 May 23

At some stage it is impossible to defend the indefensible any more and you have finally realized that.

Nick Stevens2:33 pm 04 May 23

Good news story, nonetheless not enough to brighten up the negativity of the fossil (fuel) heads.

Capital Retro2:50 pm 04 May 23

Fossil Fuels Forever! Don’t leave home without them.

Capital Retro9:13 pm 03 May 23

Why is it that in the images shown there are no EVs; only fossil powered 4WDs?

Bob the impala2:50 pm 04 May 23

Because they have not been replaced, yet.

Gee, that was hard.

Bob the Impala, they have been replaced with inefficient and very expensive Chinese T60e utes at $92k and change

Bob the impala5:00 pm 04 May 23

Early adopters do pay more to get the early benefits. You must be excited about future improvements. After all, you keep talking about it.

Martin Keast7:37 pm 03 May 23

The Federal Government target of “82 per cent renewables by 2030” is simply unbelievable because of the unreliable nature of both wind and solar, because they are spread out geographically, that means we need a lot more than 1 to 1 replacement. In the 2021 Texas Big Feeze storm, renewables dropped to 1.5% of their capacity due to the weather preventing solar panels and wind farms to generate – people actually died because there were blackouts and they only had 25% renewables – imagine what would happen here if we had 82% renewables??? We would be seeing massive blackouts.
We need a reliable base load generation capacity higher than 18% – nuclear or coal or gas is essential.

The 2021 Texas energy crisis had very little to do with problems with renewables, it was far more around poor planning and poor regulation that allowed privatised power companies to cut corners and maximise profits.

Over 5 times the amount of gas capacity was lost when compared to wind because the companies had refused to spend money to upgrade the ability to handle very cold winter conditions.

Recommendations had been made for decades to better prepare for these types of events well before renewables were even a blip on total generation, yet those recommendations were consistently ignored to maximise profits.

Texas also refuses to better link their grid into the national power grids to provide greater overall reliability.

Yet you think renewables were the problem?

“powering 144,000 homes” but only when it’s windy. But not too windy. Or not windy enough.

Today is too windy

Trevor Willis1:33 pm 03 May 23

When will these people realise that climate change has been regularly occurring for the last 3 million years? How will these generators save 543,000 tonnes of carbon emissions from these farms? How much are the farmers being paid for each generator on their 185-year-old farming enterprise ?? How is the energy going to be stored and how long will it last? So many questions and so few believable answers.

Capital Retro3:59 pm 03 May 23

That was when electricity was reliable and cheap and a greengrocer meant a F&G shop only.

Electricity is now outrageously expensive and unreliable.

Capital Retro3:59 pm 03 May 23

Follow the money.

@Trevor Willis

Capital Retro10:44 am 03 May 23

“………making groceries greener…….”

Hey, chewy14, can you give me a link to how this neat bit of sophistry is done?

What do you need a link for? You could just read the article.

“It also plays a crucial role in making groceries greener after Woolworths agreed to purchase electricity from Bango for about 30 per cent of its NSW energy needs, the equivalent of 108 supermarkets.”

As always, happy to help educate the slow.

Capital Retro12:47 pm 03 May 23

The only time I have seen green groceries is when the fridge storing them fails due to no electricity.

And yet the place where you would have bought them for a large part of your life was called a Greengrocer. Hmmm.

You must buy some pretty weird food.

Capital Retro3:54 pm 03 May 23

That was when electricity was reliable and cheap and a greengrocer meant a F&G shop only.

Electricity is now outrageously expensive and unreliable.

Capital Retro5:18 pm 03 May 23

F&V (fruit and vegetable) not F&G. My mistake.

“a greengrocer meant a F&G shop only.”

Personally I only put fresh food and perishables in my fridge, not sure what other type of supermarket products you’re putting in there. Still strange that you claim to have never seen green groceries, your diet might need some work, here’s a healthy start for you.


“Electricity is now outrageously expensive and unreliable.”

So you support more renewable energy generation which are cheaper than fossil fuels. I agree.

And LOL at the person who has said previously he’s never experienced a power blackout/brownout claiming electricity is now unreliable. Must be the vibe hey.

Capital Retro9:11 pm 03 May 23

How is your beloved renewable energy going to make “groceries greener”?

As above, read the article.

Capital Retro4:53 pm 05 May 23

I said until now electricity supply had been reliable. Do you keep a dossier on me chewy?

By the way, the price of spot electricity tripled the day after they shut down Liddel.

No, you said it was now unreliable and you’ve still never experienced a brownout/blackout.

It’s also a bit weird when the statistics show that system reliability has actually improved in recent decades.

“By the way, the price of spot electricity tripled the day after they shut down Liddel.”

So you’d suggest we need to replace the lost capacity with more cheaper renewables to bring down the price? Good point.

Capital Retro9:14 pm 05 May 23

That is the point – there isn’t any power, renewables or otherwise, available.

That makes absolutely no sense. If there’s no power, there would be regular grid failures.

But there aren’t.

Because once again you’re talking about something you know nothing about.

Capital Retro12:49 pm 06 May 23

We are not talking about the past, it’s the future that matters.

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