Apple Isle to become Australia’s wind farm capital

Robbins Island
Robbins Island, Tasmania

Tasmania’s far north-west tip is destined to become Australia’s wind farm capital with work starting on what will be the nation’s biggest renewable energy park.

Robbins Island of Montagu is now home to a newly raised 112.7m tower, The Mercury reported, with another two to follow to guide the placement and size of the 150-300 turbines needed to generate up to 1000MW of energy.

The $1.6 billion Jim’s Plain and Robbins Island wind project is being privately funded by UPC Renewables Australia.

Robbins Island is owned by John and Keith Hammond, who have been contemplating diversifying into green energy for decades. UPC Renewables Australia has leased the land from the Hammonds and the family will also get a percentage of the power generated.

A transmission line will need to be built either over or under Robbins Channel to feed the power into Tasmania’s grid, pending approvals from the Federal Department of Environment and Energy.

Construction is anticipated to begin at Jim’s Plain by mid 2020, while construction on Robbins Island is expected at the end of 2021.

“This area of Tasmania has a world-class wind resource and this wind farm is expected to produce power 90 per cent of the time,” UPC chief executive Anton Rohner said.

“There is a massive amount of science to be done but we expect to be generating electricity within five years.

“Our studies on flora and fauna will continue between now and when we expect to submit our formal DA at about this time next year,” he said.

“We have engaged leading global professional services company GHD to prepare the development approvals.”

Mr Rohner said the developments would lead to cheaper power prices for Tasmanians, with surplus power exported interstate.

A report into the capacity, geographical location and viability of a second interconnector will be released in 12 months.

“That cable will unlock renewable energy potential right across the state but this area in particular could become the wind farm capital of the world,” Energy Minister Guy Barnett said.

“We have what the rest of Australia wants — world-class wind and water resources and we are backing the renewable energy sector to the hilt.”