Chinese wind energy giant Goldwind has announced it will begin construction of the 175MW White Rock wind farm in northern NSW in November, the second big wind farm to get the go-ahead since the revised renewable energy target legislation passed the Senate last month.
Goldwind announced on Thursday that it has obtained agreement from Transgrid to connect the 70-turbine wind farm, located between Glenn Innes and Inverell, in the heart of Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce’s electorate.
Last week, a consortium led by GE announced financial closure for the 240MW Ararat wind farm, with construction to begin in the next few months.
Both GE and Goldwind are major wind turbine suppliers with massive balance sheets that have the financial grunt to support the building of their wind farms without power purchase agreements, unless smaller developers.
The Ararat wind farm has contracted 40 per cent of its output to the ACT government, and decided to take “merchant risk” on the rest of the output, meaning it will sell electricity into the wholesale market.
Goldwind has neither a power purchase agreement or outside financing at this stage, but intends to negotiate these as the project moves forward. It took a similar approach in the construction of the Mortons Lane and Gullen Range wind farms.
Goldwind Australia managing director John Titchen said the passage of the RET had given clarity to the industry.
“The removal of the 2 yearly review and the return to bipartisan RET support is welcome” Titchen said. “White Rock Wind Farm is planned to be operating by mid-2017 at a time when new supply is needed due to increased demand under the renewable energy target. “
Goldwind bought the White Rock wind project from Spanish group Epuron at the height of RET uncertainty in October last year.
White Rock Wind Farm is located about 20kms West of Glen Innes in the New England Tablelands. The project has a development approval for up to 119 wind turbines with 70 wind turbines now planned to be built in the first phase.
It is the first big wind farm to be built north of Sydney. Queensland hosts one small 12MW wind farm, and the White Rocks project is also in the heart of Joyce’s electorate.
Joyce once railed against wind farms, lamenting the “lemming-like” mentality to go renewable, and claiming they were expensive, didn’t work half the time, and will never replace coal, gas, hydro or nuclear. He also said last year: “Wind farms are one of those things that everybody likes as long as it’s not in their backyard”.
Goldwind says it will utilise its 2.5MW advanced technology – permanent magnet, direct drive wind turbines with a 121m rotor diameter at the White Rock wind farm. The wind farm is to be built on grazing country with eight landowners hosting turbines.