One of New Zealand’s largest public companies has proposed building a wind farm-powered desalination plant to help solve South Australia’s water shortage.
Energy retailer and generator TrustPower’s business development manager, Rodney Ahern, said the company was pursuing the potential of using its proposed Myponga wind farm to power a desalination plant.
Mr Ahern said the uses of a wind farm-powered desalination plant could include filling the Myponga and Mt Bold reservoirs, helping solve South Australia’s water problems.
The proposal is similar to the 80 megawatt Emu Downs wind farm in Western Australia, which powers the $387 million Kwinana desalination plant.
Mr Ahern outlined the proposal in Adelaide following his company receiving the go-ahead for its $200 million, 42-turbine wind farm on the Hummocks and Barunga Ranges, west of Snowtown in the Mid North.
Work on the 88MW capacity wind farm, enough to power 60,000 average-sized houses, is due to start in April.
Mr Ahern said the 42 wind turbines would be progressively commissioned on about 12 farms between April and November, 2008. “It will provide a significant economic boost by injecting more than $1 million into the Snowtown region annually through maintenance and royalties to the landowners,” he said.
Further stages in the proposed 130-turbine site would rely on demand and federal or state renewable-energy schemes to allow it to compete, he said.
The Snowtown wind farm will take SA’s wind farm capacity to 476MW of wind power.
Mr Ahern said SA should be aiming for a renewable energy target of a minimum of 10 per cent of total power sales within eight years.
TrustPower is among NZ’s top 10 publicly listed companies with a market capitalisation of more then $2.4 billion.
By Nigel Austin
20 February 2007
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