Financial go-ahead for turbines
Wind blowing across the Kalkee plains north of Horsham will be generating energy to power the equivalent of 220,000 households by the middle of next year.
That’s the planning schedule for the first stage of a Murra Warra Wind Farm after the shoring up of financial details for the multi-million dollar project.
Renewable Energy Systems Australia confirmed that ‘financial close’ had opened the door for the start of construction of a 61-turbine stage one.
Murra Warra Wind Farm plans ultimately include 116 turbines, with the tip of each of the machines’ blades as high as the Dooen radio tower.
The first stage will generate 150 construction jobs in regional Victoria, and when completed, will have permanent monitoring and maintenance staff. Pre-construction works have already started.
RES and Macquarie Capital are providing equity finance for stage one and a consortium made up of ANZ, The Bank of Tokyo-mitsubishi UFJ, Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation and Westpac Banking Corporation are providing $320-million.
Confirmation of finances follows an announcement in December last year of long-term power-purchase agreements with a consortium of energy users including Telstra, ANZ, Coca Cola Amatil and the University of Melbourne. Securing buyers for power generated at the site provided the project with contract certainty.
Project leaders have awarded construction contracts to international turbine manufacturer Senvion and Australian civic and electrical asset provider Downer.
Ausnet services will build, own and operate a new terminal station that connects the wind farm to the Victorian electrical grid.
RES Australia chief executive Matt Rebbeck said the Murra Warra Wind Farm was a world-class project, which on construction would be one of the highest performing wind farms in the southern hemisphere.
“We are proud to be making this important contribution to the regional Victorian economy,” he said.
“We have developed a strong relationship with the local community and look forward to continuing to engage with community stakeholders as we enter into the construction phase.” RES Europe, the Middle East and Africa commercial director Marco Perona said latest developments were a significant achievement for the Australian business and for the RES group as a whole.
“It is another step in the realisation of RES’ vision of a future where everyone has access to affordable low-carbon energy,” he said.
Macquarie Capital’s ANZ co-head of Infrastructure, Utilities and Renewables Chris Voyce said Murra Warra Wind Farm is a strong example of project developers with complementary expertise partnering to deliver important greenfield energy projects that increase and diversify the supply of electricity.
“Achieving financial close means stage one of Murra Warra is now fully funded, and with the PPAS signed in late 2017, there are guaranteed customers for the clean energy that will be generated. This demonstrates a market for clean electricity in Australia and has given the local community certainty over the economic benefits of the project,” he said.
When operational, stage one will reduce carbon-dioxide emissions by about 900,000 tonnes a year, the equivalent of 320,000 fewer cars on the road.
Plans also include diverting $42-million into the district economy and development of a fund to support community organisations.
RES and Macquarie Capital will continue to work on developing Murra Warra Stage Two, comprising 55 turbines.