Alinta Energy on Monday announced that it will go ahead with the 214MW Yandin wind farm, north of Perth, and build what will be the biggest wind farm in Western Australia, just beating the 207MW Collgar facility in the state’s wheat-belt.
Yandin has been on the cards for several years, and initially proposed by the development company Wind Prospect, but Alinta has finally given the go-ahead and appointed Vestas – the world’s leading wind turbine manufacturer – to be the engineering, procurement and construction partner.
The Yandin wind farm will comprise 51 of Vestas’ 4.2 MW turbines and will deliver a capacity factor of around 50 per cent, putting it at or near the peak of Australian wind farms.
It has planning approval to install 90 turbines, but has so far just chosen to use the best sites. The wind resource – mostly from the famous “Fremantle Doctor” has reasonably reliable and predictable.
It is located near the town of Dandaragan, around 175km north of Perth, in the heart of the state’s so-called “mid west”, which is rich in both wind and solar resources.
The project is expected to cost approximately $400 million and will generate around 150 jobs during construction. It could add solar at a later date, joining other projects where wind and solar are co-located.
Alinta last year called for tenders for up to 1,000MW of wind and solar projects, and was swamped with more than 100 different proposals. Three of these targeting the NSW market have now been shortlisted, with an announcement on the first expected in the next few months.
This Yandin wind farm is a separate deal, as it will satisfy its own electricity requirement and be used to grow its commercial and industrial portfolio. Alinta says it will deliver a reduction in its overall electricity costs, but won’t say how much.
“It’s fair to say that it gives us a reasonable return that you would expect to be making on a $400 million investment,” head of merchant energy Ken Woolley told RenewEconomy in an interview.
The company is also looking at large scale solar farms and a new battery storage project to help power new developments in the Pilbara iron ore province.
Alinta’s head of merchant energy Ken Woolley said the wind farm will give Alinta, which is challenging the state-based utilities in trying to carve a significant share of the state’s retail market, with a “considerable supply” of affordable renewable power.
“This is Alinta Energy’s first direct investment in a renewable project, and we’re thrilled to do it here in our home state of WA,” Woolley said in an earlier statement.
“Yandin will drive more affordable and cleaner energy for us, and with our gas-fired power stations it will also help us use gas more efficiently. That’ll be good for us, our customers and the environment.
Peter Cowling, the head of sales for Vestas in Australia and New Zealand, said the company saw “enormous potential” for wind energy in W.A.
“The high-quality wind resource in the region means the wind farm’s long-term capacity factor is projected to be around 50 per cent,” he said in a statement.
The wind farm will connect to Western Power’s 330 kV electricity network via a new 10 km transmission line and terminal station that will be built, owned and operated by Western Power.
Vestas will operate and maintain the wind farm from completion of construction under a long-term service agreement.