Work begins on Australia’s biggest and lowest cost wind farm

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First concrete poured at site of one of Australia’s biggest, and lowest cost, wind energy developments – the 530MW Stockyard Hill Wind Farm in western Victoria.

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Construction has begun on what will be one of Australia’s biggest, and (from what we know) lowest cost, wind energy developments – the 530MW Stockyard Hill Wind Farm in western Victoria.

China-based renewables developer Goldwind said on Tuesday that it had notched up the first wind turbine foundation concrete pour at the site for Stockyard Hill, with another 148 more to go “over coming months.”

As we have reported, Stockyard stunned the clean energy industry in May 2017 by setting what was, at the time, a new benchmark for renewables off-take deals in Australia, when Origin Energy signed a long-term power purchase agreement of below $55/MWh.

It is generally assumed to be at a price of $52/MWh – which at current wholesale prices means that the off taker, Origin, is getting the power at a “negative” subsidy. Just one of many projects that do so.

The $700 million project then achieved financial close the following December, through a nine-member domestic and international bank syndicate led by NAB.

Goldwind, which is also currently working the Moorabool Wind Farm in Victoria and Cattle Hill Wind Farm in Tasmania, said construction at Stockyard Hill was “progressing smoothly” with access tracks built and five more foundations prepared for their first concrete pour.

“With the first foundation poured in the south of the project and winter now behind us, we will continue with the remaining 148 foundations over coming months,” said project director Andrew Monahan.

“The project continues to progress on other fronts with blades and other large infrastructure due to start arriving on site in October.”

Just ahead in the construction stakes is AGL Energy’s Coopers Gap Wind Farm in Queensland, which at 430MW will briefly hold the mantle for Australia’s biggest wind farm, before Stockyard Hill takes over.

As we reported here last week, parts of the massive turbines being used for that project were pictured making their journey from port to site, around 180km north of Brisbane – the largest wind turbine blades ever transported in Australia, in fact.

Stockyard Hill, meanwhile, is expected to create up to 300 jobs during construction, and employ up to 25 permanent maintenance staff once complete. Once operational, it will produce clean energy to power approximately 391,000 Victorian homes.

Sophie Vorrath

Sophie is editor of OneStepOffTheGrid.com.au and deputy editor of its sister site, RenewEconomy.com.au. Sophie has been writing about clean energy for more than a decade.

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