Western Australia’s largest wind energy project, the 214MW Yandin wind farm, has been formally opened by the state energy minister Bill Johnston at the site near the wheatbelt town of Dandaragan, roughly 175 kilometres north of Perth.
The project’s developers, RATCH-Australia and Alinta Energy, said on Wednesday that the wind farm boasted 51 4.2MW Vestas turbines – among the biggest in the country to date – and an industry-leading capacity factor of around 50%.
“Without getting into engineering-speak, that’s better than most other wind farms we know of in the country,” said Alinta Energy executive director of merchant energy Ken Woolley.
“Dandaragan is probably home to Australia’s best wind for wind farming,” Woolley said, noting that it had the benefit of two strong wind sources: an easterly overnight, and a south-westerly in the afternoon.
“Those two strong and reliable sources of wind mean we can comfortably say this project will have an average annual capacity factor of 50 per cent, and we’ve already seen it generate at the full 214MW,” he added.
“Yandin also represents Alinta Energy’s first and most significant direct investment in a renewable energy project of this scale – and we’re thrilled to have done it in WA.”
Woolley said that – while he couldn’t name names at the moment – Alinta was in the final stages of signing power purchase agreements with “some very big local and global names and it’s great to see them jumping onboard a renewable project like this.”
RATCH-Australia executive general manager of business development Anthony Yeates said the Vestas turbines used for Yandin wind farm were among the biggest ever installed in Australia.
“This will give us greater opportunity to capture the large amount of the wind at the site,” he said.
“It really is a phenomenal wind resource that is present in the region and this project will be one of the most efficient and highest green energy producing in the country.”
The operational milestone for Yandin comes just under two years – and one million labour hours, according to the press release – after construction started on the wind farm in August of 2019.
Initial work on the project commenced as far back as 2012, with the initial planning permit granted to project developer Wind Prospect, before Alinta acquired the development rights in 2016.
The companies said construction of the project had created more than 150 jobs and engaged 19 local businesses, with around a dozen operational staff to be based in Dandaragan in the long-term.
In addition, RATCH and Alinta have committed to fund at least $50,000 each year to local community projects and groups within the Shire of Dandaragan over the coming two decades.
Dandaragan Shire president Leslee Holmes said the shire would happily claim the title of Australia’s best wind.
“We know that Dandaragan has a brilliant wind resource and it’s something we’re very proud of. I think the community also feels very positive about the contribution we’re making to lower the state’s emissions,” she said.