Downer achieves Australian first for renewable project

Downer was awarded the Infrastructure Sustainability Council of Australia’s (ISCA) first ‘As Built’ Infrastructure Sustainability rating for the Ararat Wind Farm. This is the first IS rating to be awarded to a renewable infrastructure project.

The Ararat Wind Farm is the third largest wind farm in Australia, generating electricity to power over 120,000 Victorian homes each year.

The ISCA’s Infrastructure Sustainability (IS) rating scheme is Australia’s only comprehensive scheme for evaluating the sustainability of the design, construction and operation of infrastructure projects.

The rating recognises that the project has implemented long-term economic, social and environmental benefits to the local Victorian community.

Some of the initiatives Downer implemented on the project are:

  • Used a 40 per cent fly ash/Portland cement blend to replace the reliance on Portland cement
  • Encouraged our waste supplier to invest in a mulcher to turn timber pallets into mulch for use in gardens around Ararat, reducing weeds and water loss
  • Engaged with schools, civic organisations and professional groups to help raise awareness of the role renewable energy plays in tackling climate change.

Downer also supported Ararat City Council’s Strategic Plan to improve the region’s economy and residents’ lifestyle by engaging the local community to help construct the wind farm.

We estimate more than $20 million of goods and services associated with construction have been procured from local suppliers. Council’s annual revenue in the previous financial year was $32.96 million.

Downer employed 400 people on the project, a significant number of which were local residents, and worked with 17 separate landholders in the development of the wind farm. We maintained a mutually-beneficial relationship with the landholders, helping improve access roads and fencing and installed solar-powered remote gates to save time and reduce fuel use. Downer also installed permanent water infrastructure – large dams to capture rainwater and bore water infrastructure – to help drought-proof the area against climate extremes.

This initiative demonstrates Downer's contribution to achieve the following Sustainable Development Goals: