Saturday, 7 September 2013

Govt puts $37m into Taralga wind far
9 Jul 2013

A contentious wind farm north of Goulburn is the first in the region to receive money from the Australian government's Clean Energy Finance Corporation. The corporation's $37.5 million loan will get the Taralga wind farm, comprising 51 turbines, finally under way.

The clean-energy financier joined an international consortium that provided about $280 million for the wind farm, 45 km from Goulburn and about three km east of Taralga village.

The farm, which should start working this year, is expected to generate enough power to supply 45,000 homes. Operators have a 10 year agreement with EnergyAustralia to supply the grid. The corporation's chief executive, Oliver Yates, said the loan was a catalyst for renewable energy investment in Australia.

The corporation has announced three projects: $50 million for energy efficiency loans; $50 million for a wind farm in Victoria and the Taralga financing package. Taralga's new wind farm will use towers made in Portland, Victoria, using Blue-Scope Steel steel.

Spain's Banco Santander has a 90% stake and renewable energy group CBD Energy will remain the project partner with 10%. The ANZ and Denmark's official credit export agency are also involved. Wind testing has been under way since 2001 in the sheep and cattle grazing district.

Ownership has changed hands during the planning and development stages. For more than a decade the proposal fuelled a bitter debate until the NSW Land and Environment Court concluded that public benefits outweighed private drawbacks that wound up twice in the NSW Environment and Planning Court.

Protesters said turbines would affect the landscape and generate noise. The court concluded the overall public benefits outweighed any private drawbacks either to the Taralga community or specific landowners.