Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Turbines spinning at wind farm
23 Apr 2013

THE Musselroe wind farm has been officially switched on and is now generating power for the state's electricity grid. The $395 million project consists of 56 turbines, which will be progressively turned on. It will be fully operational by July. Premier Lara Giddings said it was a "great milestone".

"This has been a huge development which has delivered jobs for Tasmanians, opportunities for local businesses and a significant boost for the North-East economy", she said. "It builds on Hydro Tasmania's partnership with leading Chinese energy company Shenhua which is securing investment and jobs in our renewable energy sector".

Ms Giddings said more than 200 people had been directly employed on the project during the peak of construction. Project director Andrew Hickman said after 10 years of talking, planning and construction it had been a momentous and satisfying occasion.

Mr Hickman said a few lucky breaks, such as a high Australian dollar and an extra good deal from European-down-turn-hit wind turbine builder Vestas Wind Systems, had helped Hydro Tasmania to get the $395 million project across the line.

The progressive commissioning of turbines and the marrying to the grid via a 48km transmission line is expected to continue until July. The farm will generate as much as 168 MWs of power, enough to supply 50,000 homes, during optimum wind conditions.

Hydro is now drawing up plans to develop wind farms across Australia as part of a $1.6 billion deal signed with Chinese energy company Shenhua Group Corporation, a subsidiary of which acquired a 75% stake in the Musselroe project in February.