The 209MW second stage of the Murra Warra wind farm in western Victoria is claiming rights to the largest wind turbine in Australia, for now, after the first GE Cypress 5.5-158 turbine was installed at the site.
The installation of the massive turbine, with a 141 metre hub height, was heralded by the project’s developer, RES, who noted there were a further 37 of the machines to follow.
RES and Macquarie Group’s Green Investment Group completed the development phase of the project in August, and sold it to global private equity firm Partners Group, which already owns the 220MW first stage of Murra Warra, near Horsham.
All told, Murra Warra has been a bit of a trail-blazing project, with the first stage – which began production in April, 2019 – sealing a unique deal to sell its power to a consortium of corporate buyers led by telecommunications giant Telstra, and including ANZ, Coca Cola Amatil and the Universities of Melbourne and Monash.
The second stage – due to be complete in March, 2022 – is contracted to Snowy Hydro, one of eight wind and solar contracts signed up by Snowy in 2019 at what it said at the time were record low prices.
However, Murra Warra was also caught up in the problems facing wind turbine manufacturer Senvion, the supplier of turbines for the first stage, which collapsed and led to then contractor Downer Group suffering a $45 million loss as a result of delays and complications to the project.
GE, which supplied the “synchronous condenser” Murra Warra was required to install after stage one was completed, to manage frequency diversions and avoid constraints on output, then stepped in to supply its Cypress turbines for stage two.
The turbines are big, but will not be the biggest for long, with GE itself producing a larger again 6MW version of its Cypress line of turbines. In Australia, however, the Murra Warra turbines will soon be bested by those installed at the Rye Park wind farm, which will feature 66 Vestas turbines rated at 6MW each.