Thursday, 28 April 2011

Wind farm split up set to cost jobs

Hobart Mercury
20 April 2011, Page: 23

THE Roaring 40s wind farm joint venture between Hydro Tasmania and China Light and Power is to be dissolved. Hydro chief executive Roy Adair said the partnership had become strained when the partners became competitors in the National Electricity Market Management Company, particularly after Hydro Tasmania developed its retail business Momentum Energy. The dissolution is expected to result in some redundancies among the 40 staff.

Roaring 40s' assets would be divided and no cash would change hands. Hydro Tasmania would take ownership of the 140 MW wind farm at Woolnorth, in Tasmania's North West. It would get a share of the 168 MW development opportunity at Musselroe Bay, in Tasmania's North East, and a further, unnamed. 80 MW opportunity. CLP Group subsidiary TRUEnergy would take over the 111MW Waterloo wind farm and assume a 50% share of the 66 MW Cathedral Rocks wind farm. Both are in South Australia.

Hydro Tasmania said CLP Group would get a share of three potential developments in Victoria and South Australia, totalling 213 MW. Formal execution of the deal is targeted for the end of June. Mr Adair said some staff would be offered positions while others would be offered redundancies. The joint venture was established in 2005 to pursue renewable energy developments in Australia and overseas, particularly in China.

Hydro Tasmania sold its share of Roaring 40s' Chinese and Indian portfolio to CLP Group in April 2009 to concentrate on Australian development opportunities. Opposition spokesman Matthew Groom said the split put the $450 million Musselroe development under a huge cloud. Tasmanian Chamber of Commerce and Industry chief executive Robert Wallace said if the Musselroe wind farm did not go ahead it would be a severe blow to the state.