The largest wind farm in the southern hemisphere will be built on the Yorke Peninsula after being given the green light by the State Government.
The $1.5 billion Ceres project will be developed across 18,000ha near Black Point, and will be capable of generating 600MW of electricity through 197 turbines, or enough to power 225,000 South Australian homes.
German turbine manufacturer Senvion will commence development later this year, creating up to 500 jobs during construction and 50 full-time maintenance and service jobs during the 25-year life of the project.
The wind farm is expected to be fully operational by the end of 2016.
Senvion Australia head of development Peter Sgardelis said the final layout of the wind farm followed months of talks with the local community.
“We’ve continually listened to the community since we announced the project in 2011,” he said.
“We’ve imposed 1.3km setbacks, 600 metre spacing between turbines, no overhead power lines, we’ve adjusted the final layout to address community concerns and we have a policy of ‘prudent avoidance’ in design.”
The electricity generated by the project will be fed straight into Adelaide by a 60km undersea cable, connecting into the state’s transmission network at Globe Derby Park.
Since the project was made public in August 2011, some landholders have been concerned that aerial crop spraying and aerial water bombing would be impeded.
Black Point Progress Association deputy chairman and prominent South Australian businessman Roger Sexton said the project would have a detrimental effect on tourism and crop yields in the region.
“Economic models suggest that the negative impacts on the tourism industry of Yorke Peninsula could be a loss of income to the region of at least $60 million to $80 million per annum,” he said.
“Because aerial agriculture will be impeded by the development, local farmers and agronomy companies have estimated that annual crop yields on the impacted farm lands will be reduced by at least 10 per cent, with possible losses of up to 80 per cent in the case of severe pest, disease or fire outbreaks.”
Conditions of the development approval require Senvion to engage with the CFS to ensure that fire response processes are not compromised during installation and operation of the wind farm.
When aerial spraying is required by an adjacent land owner, turbines within 500 metres of the land owner’s boundary must be shut down.
“There will be no change to the quality or cost of aerial spraying for adjacent landowners,” Mr Sgardelis said.
Planning Minister John Rau said the project would avoid the creation of up to 2.5 million tonnes of carbon pollution each year, or the equivalent of a 278,000ha tree plantation.
“It is estimated that the wind farm will generate up to $8 million per year in local benefits, including important off farm income for host farmers,” he said.
Senvion will turn its attention to securing an offtake agreement to sell power generated at Ceres, before securing funding for the project.
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