Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Fremantle community group continue push for wind farm in port
15 Feb 2013

The Fremantle Community Wind Farm group is continuing its push to have a wind power farm of up to 9.6MW located in the Port of Fremantle, enlisting the support of local council and wind turbine manufacturer Enercon as it fights resistance from the port authority. The organisation wants to install eight to 12 turbines along the breakwater around Rouse Head Harbour, but the Fremantle Port Authority, which owns the land, has been opposed to the idea.

At a meeting on Thursday, Fremantle mayor Brad Pettitt said the council remained supportive of the project, given its exposure to the "Fremantle Doctor" and the fact that the turbines would be hidden among the port's infrastructure. The turbines would be around 800kW each, and would be the same height as the existing container cranes on the port. Depending on the number of turbines, the wind farm would have a capacity of between 6.4MW and 9.6MW.

Jorn Kristensen, Enercon's Senior Sales Manager said he was surprised to hear the Fremantle Port Authority was concerned about operational or social risks to the port. "We have our wind turbines running at,.. at similarly high-profile ports, including at Bristol Port in the UK and the Mucuripe Port Wind Farm in Brazil. And there are many others. These projects have been very successful, and very well received by the local communities".

Jamie Ally, who is project manager for the Fremantle Community wind farm team, said the project is commercially viable and does not require any additional funding from the State government. "From an engineering point of view the construction of the turbines will be relatively straightforward. However, the management of Fremantle Ports has told us that the port will not allow a wind farm on Port land", he said. "It is frustrating to see such a great project, which is proposed to be built on state land at no cost to government, stuck at the gates because it is being blocked by a State Government business".