More than three years after it was first approved for construction, work on a 100-turbine wind farm near Jamestown in South Australia is set to begin, making it the state’s first new-build wind project since the introduction of the Abbott government’s reduced Renewable Energy Target.
The 100MW first stage of the Hornsdale Wind Farm – will being developed by French company Neon and its Australian partner Megawatt Capital, after its $250 million investment was signed off by SA Planning Minister John Rau on Friday.
Neoen and Megawatt Capital, bought the projectfrom Investec Bank last year. But the primary driver for the project is not the RET, but the ACT feed in tariff, where it secured a 20-year feed-in tariff of $92/MWh under the recent auction.
Construction on the first 100MW is expected to begin in months, with South Australian firms Catcon and CPP confirmed as contractors, and is expected to be in operation in 2017. Other contractors and financial close are expected to be announced soon.
“The certainty is a good thing for the industry and for us it’s also been helpful to have the support of the Australian Capital Territory government,” said Neoen Australia managing director Franck Woitiez.
Woitiez said the company had a 1.5 gigawatt project portfolio including looking at other South Australian projects, but the Hornsdale Wind Farm was “one of the best sites in Australia for a wind farm”.
Construction of Hornsdale is also expected to generate around 250 jobs in the region.
“Our state has an international reputation. If it were a nation state, South Australia would be second only to Denmark in regard to wind energy,” said SA climate minister Ian Hunter in a statement welcoming the project’s progress.
“We’re glad the federal government have at last settled on a sustainable RET for the future, and we welcome the Labor Opposition’s promise to boost renewable energy generation to 50 per cent.
“This project helps reinforce South Australia’s reputation as the country’s foremost renewable energy state, and helps contribute to the $10 billion low carbon investment target as well as the (state’s) 50 per cent renewable energy target , both to be achieved by 2025,” he said.
Sophie is editor of OneStepOffTheGrid.com.au and deputy editor of its sister site, RenewEconomy.com.au. Sophie has been writing about clean energy for more than a decade.