Australia’s biggest wind farm to date, the 530MW Stockyard Hill facility in central Victoria, has finally obtained a partial registration – more than 18 months after its initial target and more than six months after the last of the 149 turbine on the site was installed.
Stockyard Hill, owned by China’s Goldwind and Qatar’s Nebras, and contracted to Origin Energy, set a landmark low contract price when a deal between the two parties was first announced in May, 2017.
But its main claim to fame so far has been its inability to obtain registration and to start sending power to the grid, with no official reason given apart from vague references to “oscillation issues.”
Confirmation of its registration came in a new notice from the Australian Energy Market Operator on Tuesday, but it appears to be only to be for a 286MW component of the project, possibly because of ongoing modelling issues for its generator performance standard (GPS).
The wind project, about 30kms west of Ballarat, is now listed on various NEM data feeds, but is yet to show any generation. The commissioning process to full production is likely to take many months. It was originally scheduled to begin production in late 2019.
Stockyard Hill is not the only wind or solar project to be affected by delays in connection, registration and commissioning, but it is the biggest and one of the worst affected.
Earlier this month, the Kennedy Energy Hub, which was supposed to be the world’s first wind, solar and battery storage project connected to a main grid in the world, was finally connected and started producing power, after a delay of nearly three years.
On Tuesday, it was due to operate its hybrid plant controller for the first time, but it won’t be able to operate as a true “hybrid plant” because the market rules prevent it. It has had to register each component separately, and the wind and solar will be separately dispatched, rather than a single unit.
Among the other wind and solar farms to obtain registration from AEMO, were Gunnedah (110MW), Wagga North (48MW and Junee (30MW) solar farms in NSW, plus an increase in capacity at the Sun Metals solar farm (107MW to 121MW) next to the giant zinc plant near Townsville,.
The Bulgana wind farm in Victoria also registered the second part of its 204MW facility, possibly including the battery storage installation there, while the Bango wind farm also obtain registration for 82MW of capacity,.