The model represents mainstream wind turbine technology, the worldwide move towards increased use of renewable energy, and the process of community consultation that takes place before a wind farm is developed.
Many designs of wind turbine have been trialled, and the horizontal axis type has proven most efficient. Different blade profiles have been trialled, as have different numbers of blades. The model represents the design that was most common at the turn of the twentieth century: horizontal axis, with three blades, a wind sensor and computer-controlled motor to turn the nacelle so the blades face the wind, and a gearbox and electricity generator within the nacelle.
While windmills and small wind turbines have long been used in Australia, particularly on rural properties, the move to larger-scale wind power generation only began in the late 1980s, lagging behind the USA, Europe, India and China. The horizontal axis turbine was the main design employed, and the Danish company Vestas was one of the major manufacturers. The model represents a Vestas turbine with maximum output of 600 kW, blades 22 metres long, and tower 45 metres tall.
In 1998 eight of these turbines were installed on a property owned by grazier Hazel Seaman near the NSW town of Crookwell, creating the first grid-connected wind farm in Australia. Seaman was paid rent for this use of her land, but her main motivation was that she was paving the way for future increased availability of clean renewable energy.
In many areas where wind turbines have been installed, objections have been raised, based on their visual impact, the noise they make, and the danger they pose to birds and bats which fly too close to them. Locations are selected not just for consistent wind, but also to reduce these impacts, for example remote from homes and away from flight paths of certain birds. The model was made so Seaman's neighbours could visualise the turbines planned to be installed on her property; the project went ahead, but there were objections from neighbours in 2004 when a second wind farm was proposed for the Crookwell area.
Debbie Rudder, Curator, 2006