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Chinese buy into Woolnorth wind farms

Hydro Tasmania has sold a 75 per cent share in its Woolnorth wind farms to a Chinese investment firm.

Guohua Energy Investment will pay $88.6 million for the majority stake.

Hydro’s Roaring 40s joint venture with China Light and Power was wound up last financial year and Hydro took ownership of the two wind farms at Woolnorth in the state’s north-west.

The state-owned business runs more than 20 wind farms across China as well as the world’s largest coal business.

Energy and Resources Minister Bryan Green says Hydro will continue to operate Woolnorth.

“The fact is that we built partnerships initially to establish the wind farms and now we’re in a position to sell down that proportion but still retain 25 per cent and, at the same time, retain responsibility with respect to the ongoing management of the site which is obviously extremely important.”

Mr Green says the firm was chosen because of its expertise in working with Hydro Tasmania on other renewable energy projects.

Hydro chief executive Roy Adair says there were more than 30 expressions of interest and he is happy with the sale price.

Guohua also has an exclusive six-month window to negotiate a share in Hydro’s $400 million Musselroe wind farm project.

“In an ideal world and subject to agreement on the appropriate terms, and that the terms must be agreeable to both sides.”

“But obviously we’re looking at a partner who will, I would say in all probability be our partner for Musselroe. That’s the whole idea of this and it’s not our aim to change partners.”

A $30 million sales tax windfall will flow back to the State Government.