Sapphire wind gets go-ahead

The fifth and final winner of the ACT government’s large-scale wind reverse-auction will provide enough power for more than 48,000 Canberra homes.

Sapphire Wind Farm, 18km west of Glenn Innes in north-eastern New South Wales, has been announced as the latest successful proponent from the government’s second wind auction, promising an estimated $100 million dollars in economic benefits to the ACT. When completed, it will be the largest wind farm in the state.

Planned to procure 200MW of capacity, the 32 turbine wind farm will be developed by CWP Renewables, a consortium of French and Japanese investors. It’s due for completion in April 2018.

The original proposal was for a much larger project, of 350MW creating enough power for 150,000 homes but it appears the plans have been scaled back, with the farm now quoted as creating enough power for 48,000 homes.

The ACT announcement said Sapphire had been awarded a feed-in tariff of $89.10 per mW/h for 100mW of capacity.

CWP Renewables will also spend $34 million developed an operations centre in the ACT, re-locating from Newcastle in NSW. The company will also invest $3 million in a zero carbon micro-grid to be developed at CIT Bruce.

The move is part of a $33 million investment in local micro-grid initiatives. An Asia-Pacific micro-grid export hub will also be established in the ACT.

In August last year, the government called for bids in its second wind auction to power up to 106,000 Canberra homes, seeking 200MW in new capacity to come online within three years.

It follows two previous auctions: in 2013, three solar farms won 20-year feed-in deals, delivering 40MW capacity, and in a wind auction earlier this year three wind farms won similar deals, delivering 200MW among them.