Thursday, July 20, 2006

Spanish company to build $400m wind farm

Spanish company to build $400m wind farm
July 18, 2006
SPANISH renewable energy company Acciona will build Victoria's second biggest wind farm – a $400-million project with 128 turbines – at Waubra in Western Victoria.
The project, generating 192 megawatts from turbines on land leased from farmers, was approved more than a year ago by the State Government when the Melbourne-based firm Wind Power was the developer.

The Spanish company took over the project last year.

Brett Thomas, managing director of its Melbourne arm, Acciona Energy Oceania, said the company had acquired the project "on the belief" the Government would impose a mandatory renewable energy target on the state's energy sector.

Mr Thomas said yesterday's announcement of the 10-per-cent target "has given us the confidence" to invest $50 million in the first stage of the project.

Mr Thomas said there was no further development of renewable energy possible under the Federal Government's target, now capped at 2 per cent.

But the Victoria's new target meant energy retailers must tap at least 10 per cent of their power from renewable sources – such as wind, solar and hydro generators – by 2016.

"That places a demand on the market for renewable technology (and) renewable generation," he said.

Work would begin on the project in September this year with completion due in 2008.

Victorian Energy Minister Theo Theophanous said the project would not have gone ahead without the imposition of the renewable target.

"This scheme is what will drive renewable energy such as what we've seen with Acciona announcement today."

Wind farms now produce only 104MW of energy in Victoria currently, but there is approval for another 491MW, including a 195MW wind-power generator at Portland on the south-west coast.