The 227MW Collector wind farm in the New South Wales Southern Tablelands has been given the all-clear to run at full capacity, with all 54 of its Vestas turbines now sending power to the grid and to the project’s commercial off-takers, including supermarket giant Aldi.
Developer Ratch-Australia says the wind farm has now successfully concluded its final hold point testing results by network company TransGrid and the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO).
Ratch-Australia project manager Neil Weston described the approval as a “landmark achievement” for the wind farm, after many years in development.
“Everyone involved in this project went above and beyond to make sure we successfully delivered the project whilst taking care of each other’s mental health and creating a COVID safe work environment,” he said.
“This marks the completion of Ratch-Australia’s seventh renewable energy project in Australia. We hope that we will be opening many more of these important projects in the near future.”
Collector went into construction on a merchant basis in 2019 – that is, planning to sell all of its power on the wholesale market – with the backing of the Clean Energy Finance Corporation, which made an investment of $180 million into the $360 million project.
The wind farm soon attracted corporate customers, however, with Infigen Energy (now Iberdrola) signing up in March 2020 to buy just over half of its output, followed closely by Aldi Foods, which signed a deal to purchase just under 20% of its generated power.
As Ratch points out, the Aldi deal has since helped the retail giant to become the first major supermarket chain in Australia to move all of its operations to 100% renewable electricity, six months ahead of target. The wind farm’s remaining output will still be sold on a merchant basis into the NEM.
Anthony Yeates, Ratch-Australia’s executive general manager of business development and projects said having the project’s final hold point signed off marked the end of a long journey.
“Completing the grid testing process can be a major challenge for many renewable energy projects, but the combination of the strong local grid and Vestas’ proven connection track record has allowed Collector Wind Farm to avoid many of the problems that have troubled other projects,” he said.
“The process managed by TransGrid and AEMO is very thorough and we are very pleased to have now passed all of the tests and to be able to generate unconstrained into the NEM.”
Collector wind farm is expected to generate roughly 530GWh of renewable electricity a year, which is enough to power the equivalent of up to 80,000 average NSW homes.
Ratch says the project created 150 jobs during construction and will offer 10 full-time jobs during operation.The wind farm will this year alone invest almost $290,000 in local projects deemed important to the community.
See our new map of wind farm installations in Australia: Large Scale Wind Farm Map of Australia
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