Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Whisper on wind farm

6 Dec 2011

THE State Government is expected to announce today that work will start immediately on the long-awaited Musselroe wind farm in the state's North-East. The Mercury can also reveal that giant Danish wind generator company Vestas has won the contract to supply the turbines for the venture. Up to 200 people will be employed during the construction of the $400 million wind farm.

Musselroe will have 56 x 3 MW turbines, which will make it the biggest wind farm in Tasmania. The Musselroe wind farm has been planned for seven years but its original proponent, Hydro-owned Roaring 40s, folded in April. Hydro Tasmania chief executive Roy Adair has repeatedly said higher electricity prices caused by a carbon tax would see the Musselroe Bay wind farm developed. Last month he said the company was committed to wind farm expansion to complement its generation assets, which made it Australia's largest renewable energy generator.

The financial partner in the Musselroe project is expected to be announced soon. In the meantime, the project will be funded on Hydro Tasmania's balance sheet pending the outcome of the divestment process of Woolnorth wind farm assets, announced by Hydro Tasmania in September. The two Woolnorth wind farms are located on the far north-west tip of the state on the Woolnorth grazing property. Vestas also built the turbines on the Woolnorth farms.

Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark toured the Macarthur wind farm with Vestas CEO Ditlev Engellate last month during his official visit to Victoria with Princess Mary. Musselroe will be eclipsed in size if the $500 million, 100-turbine Cattle Hill wind farm, near Lake Echo in the state's Central Highlands, is approved. Approval for the development is yet to be granted by the Central Highlands Council and the Federal Government.