Fi­nan­cial go-ahead for tur­bines

The Weekly Advertiser Horsham - - News -

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.

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