Mortlake South Wind Farm is located 5 kilometres south of Mortlake in the Moyne Shire of south western Victoria. The 126MW wind farm comprises 35 turbines installed on cleared agricultural land used for dairy farming.  Robert Bird Group were engaged by Acciona to assess the risk of rupture to the existing gas pipeline due to turbine blade failure of proposed wind turbines. The risk of rupture was assessed due to direct blade strike and ground vibration due to falling blade or debris.

The analysis was undertaken following concerns raised by the owner of the gas pipeline adjacent the Mortlake South wind farm. The Mortlake gas pipeline conveys natural gas at 15,000 kPa which is the highest operating pressure of any gas transmission pipeline operating in Australia. The assessment undertaken by RBG involved undertaking a finite element analysis to validate the gas pipeline capacity for blade fragment impact and a blade and debris throw analysis to determine impact and distance.

This analysis was supplemented with a ground vibration assessment undertaken by a geotechnical engineer.

Project Value:
$250 million
Year Completed:
Building Metrics:
35 wind turbines with 126MW capacity to supply electricity to up to 66,000 homes

Infrastructure, Energy
Acciona Energy Australia
Robert Bird Group Services:
Construction Engineering

Key technical challenges

  • The primary tower structure consists of a composite slab and beam structure. Due to the long beam spans and thin slab, extensive analysis for footfall vibration was required to ensure the structure achieved code requirements and client expectations.
  • Working with the existing structure and developing design solutions that strengthened rather than demolished.
  • Extensive co-ordination with the mechanical engineer to develop a strategy that minimised beam penetrations and beam notches.
  • Differential shortening analysis with consideration of mega truss, steel structure, concrete structure and existing structural elements

Environmental performance

  • 5 Star Greenstar
  • 5 Star NABERs Energy and 4 Star NABERs Water ratings.

Key technical challenges

RBG redesigned the steel plunge columns enabling complex bracing arrangements and programme hold-points to be removed, hence simplifying excavation and improving health and safety. The ground floor slab was redesigned for significant construction loads and to prop the basement wall whilst maintaining a large void to allow the core to rise.

RBG also checked all permanent works elements for the temporary loads induced by the innovative construction sequence. The construction method further reduced the ground movements, thereby minimising the risk to sensitive network rail facilities adjacent to the site.

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