Australia’s third-largest wind farm was officially opened today in Victoria.
The 240MW Ararat wind farm is now operating at full capacity, providing enough electricity to power the equivalent of 120,000 homes across Victoria and the ACT.
Comprising of 75 GE wind turbines, each with a capacity of 3.2MW, the $450 million wind farm is the third largest in the Southern Hemisphere, powering five per cent of Victorian homes with zero emissions.
The development, financed by shareholders Partners Group (on behalf of its clients), RES, OPTrust and GE, was the first wind farm development to be signed following restored bipartisan support for the Renewable Energy Target (RET) in June 2015.
“Although Ararat wind farm is already feeding electricity into the grid, completion of construction at the site signals another milestone in the ACT’s renewable electricity targets and further evidence of the success of our reverse auctions scheme,” Member for Brindabella Mick Gentleman said.
“The Ararat site will power around 37,000 Canberra homes ensuring that we are on track to achieve 100 per cent renewable energy by 2020.
“We are committed to working with the energy sector to show the world that a clean energy future can be achieved.”
RES Australia chief executive officer Matt Rebeck said the completion of the project is a proud achievement for the developer.
“From the identification of the site some ten years ago, through planning, financial close, construction and into operation the project depicts tri-partisan, regulatory and community support that has ensured all stakeholders are today able to enjoy the benefits of the wind farm,” Mr Rebeck said.
“It is an honour to add Ararat wind farm as the largest single development to our global portfolio of successfully completed projects.”
The project was announced the day after the RET was set at 33,000 GWh two years ago, GE Australia’s Geoff Culbert said.
“This is what industry can deliver with stable policy. It is living proof that certainty drives investment, with flow on positive effects for regional economies,” he said.
The project’s 16-month construction period generated 600 jobs.
The operational phase will see 51 jobs remaining to support the operation and maintenance of the wind farm.
The project benefits from a power purchase agreement with the ACT government, guaranteeing the purchase of approximately 40 per cent of the energy produced at the site, which was awarded under the ACT’s Wind Auction announcement in February 2015.