Snowtown revamps image as clean energy capital

The population of Snowtown, the rural South Australian town that gained infamy for one of the most gruesome serial killings in the country’s history, is attempting to re-brand the area as the state’s wind energy capital.

Locals celebrated the town’s 135th birthday in October, which coincided with the opening of the stage two of the Snowtown wind farm. To commemorate the milestone, Snowtown Lions Club and TrustPower Australia held a family fun day, which included a blade display in the main street.

Once completed, the $700 million wind farm and its 137 turbines will be the largest operating wind farm in SA and the second largest in the nation, supplying the equivalent of 10 per cent of the state’s electricity. Upon completion, the wind farm is expected to generate enough electricity to power 180,000 homes.

Snowtown Lions Club treasurer Alan Large told ABC News the development marks a fresh start for the town after the gruesome murders that occurred nearly 15 years ago.

“Nobody seems to object against them, they’re a benefit for the town labour-wise and also they’re putting money into the community,” he said.

In total, South Australia’s support of wind farms has led to about $3 billion capital investment in the state, which has translated to more than 800 direct jobs.

Premier Jay Weatherill said the project demonstrated the state’s ability to participate in major and technically complex projects using local capabilities.

“This is a great example of how we can make things locally for major projects, working in collaboration with global companies like Siemens,” he said.

“About 20 of the 90 towers for the Snowtown II wind farm are being made here at E&A Contractors in Whyalla. The project is supporting our economy with 120 local jobs and it is a great vote of confidence in our advanced manufacturing capabilities.”

Construction of the $439 million Snowtown II wind farm commenced in October 2012 and will be completed and operational by the end of 2014.

The wind tower project is a collaboration between the SA Government, global technology company Siemens – which is building the wind farm – and local manufacturer E&A Contractors.