Big business at Crowlands
Western Victoria will again provide the setting for an Australian first in renewable-energy production with construction set to start on a new wind farm south of Ararat.
Crowlands Wind Farm, developed by Pacific Hydro, will be the first project of its kind involving an energy-buying group involving a consortium of 14 business partners.
Melbourne Renewable Energy Project involves City of Melbourne, University of Melbourne, RMIT, Federation Square, City of Port Phillip, City of Yarra, Moreland City Council, Bank Australia, Zoos Victoria, Citywide, National Australia Bank, Australia Post, Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre and NEXTDC.
Representatives from the project group and Pacific Hydro celebrated the official start of construction of the new 80-megawatt wind farm last week.
Melbourne acting lord mayor Arron Wood said the 39-turbine wind farm would provide electricity to group partners, which had combined their purchasing power to support the development of the farm.
“No other renewables project has tackled the complexity of 14 partners in one buying group. We are proud to reach this milestone after announcing the Melbourne Renewable Energy Project in November,” he said.
“Crowlands Wind Farm will save MREP customers 96,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide every year and will create more than 140 construction jobs as well as eight ongoing positions to operate and manage the facility.
“This is an innovative, cost-effective approach to creating and purchasing renewable energy and also a great example of how a major city with a $92-billion economy can influence positive outcomes in our regional towns.”
Partner representatives made the most of the visit to Crowlands to meet members of the community.
Mr Wood said work to transform the site into a wind farm started with construction of access roads and bridges.
“We will install 39 turbines over the next few months to provide the 88 gigawatts of energy we will purchase – enough to power more than 17,000 households in Melbourne each year,” he said.
“The additional power generated will feed back into the grid and be used by businesses and households across south-eastern Australia, improving supply and affordability for all customers.”
Pacific Hydro will own and operate the wind farm when it completes the project early next year, and its retail arm Tango Energy will supply the power.
“Crowlands will be one of the few regional Australian towns with a solar-powered town hall when Pacific Hydro installs a rooftop solar photovoltaic system and storage battery, just one of the projects that will be funded through its Community Investment Program,” Mr Wood said.
Big business gaining direct access to renewable energy is also happening at a Bulgana Green Power Hub project near Great Western.