In three years, more than 60,000 homes will reap the benefits of a $300 million wind farm being developed in Tasmania’s central highlands.
The State Government, through Aurora Energy and international company Goldwind, have reached an in-principle agreement to build the state’s first wind farm in almost a decade at Wild Cattle Hill, near Waddamana power station.
Minister for Energy Matthew Groom said the 49-turbine farm would create 150 jobs during construction and 10 ongoing jobs locally after its completion in 2020.
“It will create jobs and grow the economy in regional Tasmania,” he said.
“We now have a tremendous opportunity to capitalise on the building momentum for more renewable energy generation.”
Mr Groom said the wind farm would generate 144 megawatts and will increase the capacity of wind generation in the state by nearly 50 per cent.
He added an “exciting proposal for Granville Harbour” was also in the works, but did not go into further detail.
Rebecca Kardos from Aurora Energy said the project would play a significant role for the company’s national renewable energy requirements.
“This announcement means we’re meeting our obligations up to 2030,” she said.
“It will also help to improve the renewable energy security for the state as a whole.”
When asked about the state’s contribution to the $300 million being put towards the project, Ms Kardos said she could not comment on grounds of commercial in confidence.
Why choose Tasmania?
Energy consultant Marc White said there could not be a better time to invest in wind farms.
“The energy commodity has doubled [so] we expect more wind farm announcements in the coming months and years,” he said.
“This wind farm is particularly well sited, it’s got one of the best wind resources in Tasmania.”
Mr White said wind was currently contributing 10 per cent of Tasmania’s needs.
“We expect this project will increase that by another 4 to 5 per cent,” he said.
“Tasmania normally imports about 5 per cent of its energy so this goes a long way to make the state energy self-sufficient.”
Goldwind Australia’s managing director John Titchen said the project had experienced a “long gestation” but would be ready to move onto the construction phase as early as September.
“Goldwind has been working on this project for the last 18 months and Aurora the last six months,” he said.
The wind turbine company has seven wind farm projects across Australia, with this marking its first in Tasmania.
What about the Granville Harbour project?
Shadow energy minister Scott Bacon welcomed the wind farm project but questioned the Government’s commitment to the stalled wind farm project at Granville Harbour.
Plans to build a 33-turbine, $200 million facility there were announced in 2015 but development hit a standstill.
“Granville Harbour should have been up and away by now but Minister Groom’s inaction has held it back,” Mr Bacon said.
Project leader’s for the Granville Harbour proposal have been contacted for comment.