At long last the developers of Taralga wind farm have announced that its financial arrangements are in place and construction will go ahead.
The wind farm will have 51 turbines, all construction contracts have been signed, and the development is now officially in operational mode.
Construction is expected to be completed by late 2014.
A feature of the construction will be that the turbines will be manufactured in Australia by a Victorian firm.
Most wind farm infrastructure in Australia has been imported from Europe.
The Australian Steel Institute (ASI) has welcomed the awarding of the wind tower construction to the Victorian firm Keppel Prince.
All projects above $500 million and those benefiting from Clean Energy funding are required to submit to the Australian Industry Participation Plan.
The ASI has urged that these projects by subjected to higher disclosure as more and more work on major projects such as wind farms goes off shore.
Keppel Prince was forced to lay off about 50 workers last year due to work drying up, but the Taralga contract will save 75 positions.
ASI National Manager Mr. Ian Cairns said the contract demonstrated clearly that given the opportunity local industry can offer ample capacity and capability.
“It also shows how the clean energy fund can support the development and retention of advanced skills for the new low-carbon age whilst enhancing and generating Australian jobs,” Mr. Cairns said.
He added the ASI was urging that the project value for Australian industry participation should be lowered from $500 million to $200 million.
GOLSPIE WIND FARM
Meanwhile, Development Manager for the proposed Golspie wind farm, Mr. Daniel MacDonald, has clarified the position of the now stalled project.
The planning application lapsed with the developers, Wind Prospect CWP citing wind resource, land security and grid connection as key factors in a decision to slow down the project.
“We are actively monitoring the issues facing the further development of the project,” Mr. MacDonald said.
“As soon as it becomes clear that we can progress a wind farm in the area then we will resubmit a project application to the Department of Planning to seek approval and further our community consultation work.”
Those interested can keep abreast of developments through the website www.golspiewindfarm.com.au.
UPPER LACHLAN GETTING A BIT SATURATED
By Anthony Dubber
UPPER Lachlan Shire mayor John Shaw is concerned about the abundance of wind farms appearing in the area.
He is worried that the shire is starting to suffer from what he calls “wind farm overload”.
“Land values in the shire have actually decreased because of the amount of wind farms in the area,” he said.
“It’s getting towards a bit of a saturation point now.
“We didn’t really want to get to the point where we would have a wind tower on every hill, but it’s starting to get to that stage.
“I suppose I’m asking when is enough actually enough?” Mr Shaw says that this is now the 12th wind farm proposal for the Upper Lachlan area, with five already operating or under construction – the Crookwell 1, 2 and 3 wind farms, the Cullerin Range farm 15kms east of Gunning, and the Acciona wind farm 20kms north east of Gunning.
Approval has also been granted for wind farms to be built at Taralga and Gullen Range near Collector. These farms could have close to 100 turbines operating on each property.
And now another new wind farm has been proposed approximately 8kms east of Biala, between Gunning and Grabben Gullen.
It will contain up to 40 turbines spread over 29 different allotments on two properties at a cost of $30 million. The farm will be developed by Newtricity, a renewable energy company based in Ireland since 2004 and who are now also a registered Australian owned company. They claim extensive experience with wind farm projects across Europe, the UK and North and South America.
The farm would also have transmission lines connected to the state grid that would either run through to Goulburn or be attached to the Gullen Range Wind Farm transformer currently under construction near Collector.
The turbine models are yet to be confirmed, but their estimated height would be between 130 and 150m from ground level to blade tip, and 80 to 100 metres to the top of the tower itself.
Newtricity would also build a substation and control buildings on the site, and has submitted its proposal and a preliminary environmental assessment to the Department of Planning and Infrastructure.
Environmental Resources Management Australia (ERM) through representative Adam Coburn has been assisting Newtricity with community consultation, environmental impact statements and general project management involved in the planning and approval processes.
Mr Coburn also gave details of the plans at a recent meeting of Upper Lachlan Shire Council on June 20.
Because the project is of state significance, it is up to the Department of Planning and Infrastructure, not the Council to determine whether it gets approved.
The schedule for the wind farm’s operation is for approval to be gained by mid 2014, with construction to take place over two years from 2015-2017.
Initially the farm will be operative for twenty years until 2037, and should be decommissioned by 2038.
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