12 Jan 2007
Construction of a $200 million wind farm in South Australia's mid-north is due to start in April this year.
New Zealand-based renewable power generator and retailer TrustPower has announced that plans have now been finalised
for the construction of 42 wind turbines on the Hummocks and Barunga Ranges west of Snowtown, 170km north of Adelaide.
The wind farm, which will have a capacity of 88MW - enough to power 60,000 average South Australian houses, is Stage 1 of a possible 130 turbine project that has been approved for the site.
"It is very pleasing to be able to commence development of the Snowtown site," said TrustPower Chief Executive, Keith Tempest. "Snowtown is ideally located on the transmission grid and has a superior wind resource."
The wind farm has been granted an Electricity Generation Licence by the Essential Services Commission of South Australia.
South Australian electricity transmission company, ElectraNet, has also been contracted to construct the high voltage substation and a short transmission line which will connect the new wind farm into the existing ElectraNet
State power grid.
Under an Engineer / Procure/ Construct turnkey (EPC) agreement with Suzlon Energy Australia Pty Limited, 42 Suzlon S88 2.1 MW wind turbines will be located on the site. Suzlon will also provide operations and maintenance services to TrustPower once the wind farm is fully commissioned, which is due in late 2008.
Construction is expected to start in April this year, with wind turbines being progressively commissioned between April and November 2008. Final output is expected to be 350 GWh (gigawatt hours) of electricity each year, saving more than 345,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions annually.
TrustPower has been investigating the development of wind farms in South Australia for nearly four years, but has been hampered by changes to generation licensing requirements and uncertainties over Australia's long term commitment to legislative support for new renewable electricity generation.
"The Snowtown Stage 1 project will provide TrustPower with a 'beach head' into the Australian electricity market," Mr Tempest said. "Stage 1 will use only about one third of the available wind farm site, leaving the opportunity for further stages in the future."
Mr Tempest said long term energy and renewable credit agreements were now in place that would secure the wind farm's revenue stream for at least the next 10 years.
The first stage of the wind farm will employ up to 170 people during peak construction times, with four full time employees thereafter.
TrustPower already owns and operates the Tararua Wind Farm in New Zealand, one of the largest wind farms in the Southern Hemisphere, and owns more than 30 hydro generation
stations supplying electricity to more than 220,000 customers. The company has a market capitalisation of more than NZ$2.4 billion.
© Copyright Infratil