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Wind farm proposed for Port Kembla site

Enough wind power to provide the energy needs of up to 10,000 homes could be generated near the Port Kembla coal loader within two to three years.

Port Kembla Port Corporation chief executive Dom Figliomeni yesterday revealed a wind farm was proposed for a site adjoining the coal loader and that an analysis of the site was about to begin.

Mr Figliomeni told the Illawarra Innovative Industry Network (i3net) the energy would be for port users and/or the energy grid.

“We are effectively in negotiation with one party on [the wind farm] at the moment,” he said.

Mr Figliomeni said the port corporation had received five expressions of interest.

No approval for construction had yet been sought but he expected at least seven turbines would be built.

“They reckon they can fit seven but we may look at extending that,” he said. “The site is adjacent to the coal stockpile next to the road.”

Mr Figliomeni said he was aware of some community concerns about wind turbines so he and port corporation chairman Nick Whitlam had decided to visit a wind farm at Tarago, near Goulburn.

Mr Figliomeni said he wanted to satisfy himself that locating a wind farm at Port Kembla would have no negative impact on the community.

“We wanted to do that before we made a decision to award a tender.

“The agreement will allow the company to undertake an analysis to assess the suitability of the site … ie, is there enough wind and is it coming from the right direction.”

Mr Figliomeni said no construction would take place unless the site was deemed suitable.

“It would then have to go through the relevant approval process before they can construct anything,” he said. “Where they would go is nowhere near a residential area. That I think is critical. It is effectively within the port.”

Mr Figliomeni said the road between the coal loader and the sea was well away from residential areas and he was confident no-one would hear the turbines.

The site was also considered good because there was always wind in the area.

Mr Figliomeni said the size of the wind turbines being proposed were two to three megawatts (MW) each.

Most 2MW wind turbines generate enough electricity to supply the energy needs of more than 1000 homes annually, and seven 3MW turbines would produce enough for more than 10,000 homes a year.

He said there had already been interest expressed from port users.