Victorian wind farm a win-win for locals and energy industry

Success in the ACT’s wind auction has resulted in a win for renewable energy in Victoria, with final financing confirmed for the $50 million 19.4MW Coonooer Bridge Wind northwest Bendigo, Victoria, in July.

Australian wind energy company Windlab has signed a deal with Japanese company Eurus Energy Holdings to fund the project, which comprises six turbines generating enough for up to 14,000 homes.

Coonooer Bridge was one of three wind projects supported by the ACT Government’s wind auction, part of the Territory’s goal of sourcing 90 per cent of its power from renewable sources by 2020.

Eurus president and chief executive Masami Shimizu said the company is committed to the Australian renewable energy market and will work with the local community to add the wind farm to its Australian portfolio.

“Coonooer Bridge enjoys a fantastic wind resource, perhaps one of the best in Australia. By taking advantage of this natural occurrence we can provide low cost energy to thousands of Australian homes,” he said, as reported by Climate Spectator.

The Coonooer investors will receive $81.50 per MWh, considered a low price for wind energy – and a good deal for Canberra, according to Mr Shimizu.

Regional Victoria’s Buloke Shire Council approved the project in 2013 and it received a 20-year feed-in-tariff (FiT) from the ACT Government in January, as part of the ACT’s Climate Change Action Plan, which the company described as “ambitious and forward looking”.

The plan requires the territory to source 90 per cent of its electricity needs from renewable sources by 2020.

Windlab chief executive Roger Price said the Coonooer Bridge, the first of three wind projects awarded FiTs by the ACT Government to start construction, is the cheapest wind energy produced in Australia.

“This location has both strong and consistent winds. This is a win-win for the local community, which wholeheartedly supports this development for our company, for the residents of the ACT and all who support renewable energy,” he said.

Windlab has selected Vestas as both the engineering, procurement and construction contractor and wind turbine supplier for the project. Vestas will also support the ongoing operation of the project through a long term warranty, operations and maintenance agreement. Windlab will continue to manage the project through its global operation centre based in Canberra, as reported by Climate Spectator.

Construction of the wind farm is expected to be completed by early 2016, creating more than 70 construction jobs.