$50 million wind farm to power Canberra homes
Wind energy company Windlab has begun construction on a $50 million wind farm at Coonooer Bridge, 80 km north-west of Bendigo. All power generated on-site will supply Canberra as part of the ACT’s Climate Change Action Plan, which requires the territory to source 90% of its electricity needs from renewable sources by 2020.
The 20 MW, six-turbine wind farm has been predominantly financed by Eurus Energy and ANZ Bank. Eurus will own 80% of the wind farm, while the balance will continue to be owned by Windlab (16.2%) and the local community (3.8%).
The project will see turbine manufacturer Vestas deploy its 3.3 MW turbine platform for the first time in Australia. The turbines will have a rotor diameter of 117 m and each will generate around 13,000 MWh of electricity per annum — enough to power 12,000 Canberra homes. Manufacturing company Keppel Prince Engineering will meanwhile build the state-of-the-art wind turbine towers.
Windlab CEO Roger Price said the Coonooer Bridge project will be the first of around 35 wind energy projects expected to be built in Australia by 2020 to achieve the revised Renewable Energy Target (RET).
“This major infrastructure investment program of more than $10 billion will create thousands of jobs, replace aged, dirty coal generation and offset a further 15 million tonnes a year of carbon dioxide,” he said.
“This is the first project awarded a 20-year feed-in tariff by the ACT Government for the supply of renewable energy to enter construction.
“It is also the first major-scale, commercially developed project in Australia to include direct community ownership, via an innovative equity consortium assembled by our company.”
Eurus Energy President and CEO Hideyuki Inazumi said this is the company’s second major Australian wind project and the first time Eurus has been involved in an Australian wind project from the start of construction.
“We are delighted to invest in this world-class wind project,” he said. “This site has been selected for its extraordinary wind resource and strong community support. It provides an outstanding opportunity to help us achieve our growth ambitions for the Australian market.”
Keppel Prince Engineering General Manager Steve Garner added that the project was a “lifeline” for the company’s tower manufacturing division. He said it will enable Keppel Prince to recontract some of the staff members it was forced to make redundant in 2014, following the downturn in renewable energy investment resulting from the RET political standoff.
Construction is expected to be completed, with commercial operations underway, by March 2016.
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