Tasmanian company West Coast Wind has secured an in-principle deal to sell power generated by a proposed $280-million wind farm to the state government
The plan is to build the 33-turbine wind farm at Granville Harbour with an output of 99 Megawatts which could power up to 40,000 homes.
Tasmania’s Energy Minister Matthew Groom said the deal was with the state-owned monopoly power supplier Hydro Tasmania.
“The Cabinet has endorsed Hydro Tasmania entering into an agreement to purchase the power for the Granville Harbour wind farm,” he said.
That deal involves Hydro buying about 360-gigawatt hours of energy and renewable energy certificates a year from the proposed wind farm.
The announcement comes in the wake of Tasmania’s energy crisis last year, which saw the state fighting to keep the lights on.
Mr Groom said new renewable development was crucial to ensure the state avoided a repeat. “It is important from an energy security perspective,” he said.
The project is expected to create about 200 jobs during its construction, and eight permanent jobs.
Wind Farm investors “champing at the bit”
WestCoast Wind’s Alex Simpson said the priority now was securing a primary investor. “We’ve got a number of investors that are champing at the bit to take this on, but there’s quite a rigorous process and robust process that we are going through,” he said.
Mr Simpson said he would be ensuring the selected investor would be “committed totally to the project but also the people on the west coast”.
The company wants construction and initial works to start in September and to be completed by early 2019. The project will include a transmission line to connect to the Tasmanian electricity network, a transformer substation and switchyard.
Extensive environmental, heritage, engineering and survey work has been completed for the project, with more scheduled prior to construction, to ensure minimal environmental and social impact whilst maintaining sound economic potential.
West Coast Wind said the project provides clean renewable energy to abate over 130,000 (+) tonnes of carbon emissions per annum, equivalent to removing over 30,000 cars from the road.
The announcement follows a similar deal for a $350-million wind farm construction in the Central Highlands earlier this month.
Hydro Tasmania’s Steve Davy said it was encouraging to see the increased focus on renewables.
“The proposed Granville Harbour and Cattle Hill wind farms contribute towards plans to make Tasmania the battery of the nation,” he said.
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