Kane Thornton, Chief Executive of the Australian Clean Energy Council (CEC) said that the decision to proceed with the White Rock Wind Farm in northern New South Wales is further evidence of stability and confidence returning to the Australian renewable energy industry.
The White Rock Wind Farm is located in the Tablelands of New England, approximately 24 kilometres west of Glen Innes and 47 kilometres east of Inverell. The wind farm stands at the junctions of the Glen Innes, Inverell and Guyra Shires, just south of the Gwydir Highway. Upon completion, the wind farm will consist of up to 119 wind turbines generating up to 400 MW of renewable electricity. Stage 1 of the project will consist of 70 turbines producing 175 MW of renewable electricity, representing enough power to supply 75,000 homes annually.
Initial development of the project was undertaken by Epuron, but in 2014 it was taken over by Goldwind. The turbine model to be installed at the site will be the Goldwind 121 which has a 90 metre hub height and a 150 metre tip height. Power will be fed to the grid via a grid connection point secured with TransGrid into the New South Wales transmission system. Stage 1 is expected to inject around $35 million into the local economy during construction.
“The White Rock Wind Farm will deliver substantial economic benefits to the region, including the creation of 200 jobs during construction, 10-15 ongoing jobs and a total investment of $400 million” Mr Thornton said. “People in New England are incredibly supportive of renewable energy, and it is great to see the Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce supporting this project in his electorate. Australian renewable energy projects have attracted strong interest from domestic and international investors recently, with several recent deals such as the purchase of the Taralga Wind Farm and the sale of the renewable energy firm Pacific Hydro.”
Mr Thornton added that only last week Origin Energy signed an agreement with Fotowatio Renewable Ventures to purchase the electricity produced by the Moree Solar Farm. AGL’s Nyngan and Broken Hill solar power plants, along with the Moree Solar Farm, are the three largest in Australia – and they have all been launched within the last six months. These are modest but significant steps towards returning confidence to the Australian renewable energy sector and the whole industry is excited about the year ahead as it continues to deliver on the national Renewable Energy Target.