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$175m wind farm bid

Renewable energy company Acciona has lodged an application for a $175 million wind farm at Allendale East near Mt Gambier.

The development application, which has been 18 months in the planning, was lodged with the District Council of Grant onFriday.

It proposes a 47-turbine farm capable of producing 70.5 megawatts of power, or the equivalent of powering 43,000 homes.

Spanish-owned Acciona also developed the Cathedral Rocks wind farm near Port Lincoln with Roaring 40s, and is leading the consortium building the Port Stanvac desalination plant through its Agua division.

The company’s Waubra wind farm in western Victoria, which began operations in June, is the southern hemisphere’s largest, producing more than 192 megawatts of energy.

Acciona Asia Pacific managing director Brett Thomas said construction at the Allendale site was likely to begin in 2011, employing about 50 people.

“We know through other projects we have been working on that there are flow-on effects to other areas and jobs, from hire cars in Mt Gambier or accommodation or even the local pie shop doing a roaring trade,” he said.

Mr Thomas said he did not anticipate any problems getting government approval, or approval from ETSA for the grid connection.

“To date, the community, the council and the State Government have been very positive (and) the next critical step is working with ETSA to get their formal permission to connect to the power system,” he said.

“South Australia leads the way on renewable power in a number of ways. They have got more renewable power than other states but also communities have been very strongly supportive.”

Mr Thomas said a summary of the development application would be mailed to all the residents in the wind farm area, with a public exhibition period set to follow.