TrustPower today announced it would start constructing a $200 million wind farm in South Australia’s mid-north in April, which it said would be its Australian beachhead.
The company said plans had 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 one of a possible 130 turbine project that has been approved for the site.
Chief executive Keith Tempest said Snowtown was ideally located on the transmission grid and had 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.
The turbines will be built, operated and maintained under a turnkey agreement with Suzlon Energy Australia Pty.
Turbines will be progressively commissioned from April and the wind farm is due to be fully commissioned in late 2008.
It is forecast to save 345,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions annually.
TrustPower said it had been investigating the development of wind farms in South Australia for nearly four years, but had 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 one project will provide TrustPower with a ‘beachhead’ into the Australian electricity market,” Mr Tempest said.
“Stage one 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 decade.
TrustPower owns and operates the Tararua Wind Farm in New Zealand, one of the largest wind farms in the Southern Hemisphere.
TrustPower shares closed yesterday on $7.40. They have traded between $6.10 and $8.00 in the last year.
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