The ACT Government has ensured construction will commence on what will be NSW’s largest wind farm by awarding renewable energy developer CWP Renewables a feed-in tariff of $89.10 per MW/h for 100MW capacity to power nearly 50,000 homes.
The choice of CWP’s Sapphire Wind Farm near Inverell in northern NSW as the second winning project in the ACT’s second wind auction brings with it investment benefits worth $100 million over 20 years to the territory.
CWP is a joint venture between Europe’s Continential Wind Partners and Britain’s Wind Prospect Group.
ACT Environment Minister Simon Corbell said the project would power 48,600 Canberra homes and that total costs to consumers associated with all current and proposed large-scale renewable energy projects would peak at $4.67 per household per week, on average, in 2020.
He said CWP would relocate its asset management operations from Newcastle to the ACT, investing $34 million in the development of an ACT-based asset and operations management centre for its growing national and international generation fleet.
“CWP will be the third wind developer and asset manager to base their operations here in Canberra making our city a major hub for wind energy innovation and investment,” Mr Corbell said.
“CWP Renewables will invest $3 million in a world-leading zero carbon micro-grid to be developed at CIT Bruce. This forms part of a $33 million investment in local micro-grid initiatives with strong trades training and research integration. CWP also will invest $35 million to develop an Asia-Pacific micro-grid export hub in the ACT.
“In a win for local companies, the developers will give preference to ACT-based businesses when awarding contracts for the construction of the wind farm – worth at least $5 million.”
Alex Hewitt, Managing Director CWP Renewables, said the ACT purchase of Sapphire Wind Farm renewable energy would allow CWP to commence construction of what will become the largest wind farm in the NSW.
“Construction of the 260MW Sapphire Wind Farm will generate local jobs and investment both in the ACT and in the New England region of NSW,” he said.
“We are looking forward to centralising our asset management team in Canberra to manage wind and solar farms across Australia and Asia.
“Our ACT investment package includes new partnerships with learning institutions and smart technology providers, and an investment opportunity offer to the community.”
Mr Corbell said that by the time Sapphire starts producing energy in April 2018, the ACT will be sourcing 80% of its energy needs from renewable sources and well on the way to achieving 90% by 2020.
“The ACT’s pioneering reverse auction process ensures that Canberrans pay low prices for electricity while receiving maximum local investment benefits,” the Minister said.
Sapphire Wind Farm achieved State and Commonwealth Approval in June 2013 and December 2014 respectively for up to 159 wind turbines on its proposed site between Inverell and Glen Innes and 100 km north of Armidale in New England, northern NSW.
Pictured is a file image of wind turbines.