Tuesday, 19 January 2010

Wind energy's employment boom for S-E tourism hotspot

Adelaide Advertiser
Thursday 14/1/2010 Page: 17

ONE of South Australia's coastal tourism hot spots will be transformed into a hub for wind energy generation within the next two years, resulting in jobs and an economic boom for the region. Two major windfarm developers have locked in key agreements with landowners in and near Robe for billion-dollar projects that will create more than 1000 MW of wind-generated energy, expected to power more than 400,000 homes.

District Council of Robe chief executive Bill Hender said there was potential "for a huge boom to the economy". "It's very early days. It will be 18 months to two years before onsite work begins leading to hundreds of jobs in construction phase and 30-40 permanent jobs," Mr Hender said. Renewables sector investor Macquarie Capital last month agreed to back Robe Wind Pty Ltd's $1 billion, 600 MW project along the WoakWine range between Beachport and Mt. Benson. Robe Wind - a company owned by the 35 farmers on whose land the proposed windfarm is to be constructed - described the support as an important milestone in the delivery of the project.

Infigen Energy also confirmed it had landowner agreements in place for its 400-500MW WoakWine Wind Farm project from Cape Jaffa to Beachport. Infigen Energy has a strong track record of windfarm development in the Limestone Coast region with the Lake Bonney windfarm, which comprises Lake Bonney 1 (80.5MW), Lake Bonney 2 (159MW), and Lake Bonney 3 (39MW). Together, the new projects would potentially rival Australia's largest windfarm development near Broken Hill in NSW, being built by Epuron at a cost of about $2 billion. South Australia currently has the nation's highest installed capacity of wind generation, with nine operating wind farms and 5000MW of proposed projects.