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Wind farm plan risky, say Libs

The State Opposition is demanding Hydro Tasmania reveal the reason it is building the Musselroe wind farm without a joint venture partner.

The Opposition says Hydro is taking a risk by building the wind farm in the state’s north-east without one.

Hydro Tasmania say a partner is the preferred option but can build the $400 million project until one is found.

But the Liberal’s energy spokesman, Matthew Groom, has questioned the plan.

“It’s taking on all of the debt, in excess of $300 million of debt. It’s a very serious amount of money.”

“The Government has to explain this, why is this in the best interests of the Tasmanian people, why is it better for the Hydro to be doing it on balance sheet and assume all of the risks for the project and all of the debt when less than 12 months ago it had the option to do it with equity partner and share those burdens,” he said.

Hydro’s head Roy Adair denies it is risky, saying the proceeds of its 75 per cent sale of the Woolnorth wind farm will be funnelled into the project.

He says the company’s financial position is strong enough to fund the project alone.

“In fact, it could be potentially economically more attractive to build the whole of Musselroe first and then sell down so we are keeping all of our options open and we’re looking for the best return for our shareholders, which are the people of Tasmania.”

He says the successful bidder can also buy into Musselroe.

“We’re able to make our dollars go a lot further and the return for the Tasmanian taxpayer is that much greater.”

Hydro hopes to announce a joint venture partner for Woolnorth in coming weeks.