Wind farm’s fu­ture is un­cer­tain

The Weekly Advertiser Horsham - - News - BY DEAN LAWSON

Spec­u­la­tion sur­round­ing Murra Warra Wind Farm de­vel­op­ment north of Hor­sham con­tin­ues as one of the ma­jor com­pa­nies in­volved in the project works through sig­nif­i­cant fi­nan­cial is­sues.

Tur­bine sup­plier and in­staller Sen­vion Aus­tralia re­leased a brief state­ment yes­ter­day, say­ing it ‘has been work­ing closely with the project team to sup­port the safe de­liv­ery of the Murra Warra Wind Farm’.

The Ger­man-based com­pany was

un­will­ing to ex­pand on the Wim­mera project, other than to pro­vide de­tails of its April 9 me­dia re­lease say­ing it was ‘ac­cel­er­at­ing’ a ‘trans­for­ma­tion pro­gram, launched in Jan­uary, with a self-ad­min­is­tered re­struc­tur­ing plan’.

The re­lease in­cluded a dec­la­ra­tion that – ‘busi­ness op­er­a­tions shall be con­tin­ued; a goal of full re­cov­ery re­mained; and a fi­nanc­ing of­fer was in process of be­ing dis­cussed be­tween lenders and bond hold­ers’.

What this means about the fu­ture of the two-stage, 116-tur­bine wind-farm project re­mains un­clear.

Murra Warra Wind Farm project, de­vel­oped by RES Aus­tralia and owned by Part­ners Group, has an en­gi­neer­ing, pro­cure­ment and con­struc­tion con­tract with Sen­vion Gmbh and Downer Utilities Aus­tralia.

A Tel­stra-led con­sor­tium of en­ergy users also in­clud­ing the ANZ Bank, Coca-cola Amatil and the Univer­sity of Mel­bourne, signed a power-pur­chase agree­ment from the wind farm in 2017.

Con­struc­tion of a 61-tower stage one is well un­der­way and gi­ant tow­ers are dra­mat­i­cally chang­ing the plains land­scape be­tween Hor­sham and War­rackn­abeal.

The 226-megawatt, $247-mil­lion first stage of the project is sched­uled to be pro­vid­ing power equiv­a­lent to meet­ing the needs of 220,000 houses to the elec­tric­ity grid by Au­gust.

Project en­gi­neers had ‘en­er­gised’ or com­pleted oper­a­tional work on four wind tow­ers late yes­ter­day and in ideal cir­cum­stances ex­pect to com­plete two tow­ers a week as part of a com­mis­sion­ing process.

Wind farm com­mu­ni­ca­tions of­fi­cer Su­san Find­lay-tick­ner ac­knowl­edged the spec­u­la­tion but said it was a case of ‘busi­ness as usual’ at the site.

“The Murra Warra Wind Farm site has been en­er­gised and this al­lows for the nec­es­sary tur­bine test­ing and com­mis­sion be­fore ex­port­ing elec­tric­ity to the grid,” she said.

“The site en­er­gi­sa­tion marks a sig­nif­i­cant project mile­stone and will en­sure the first sec­tion of the project will be fully oper­a­tion and gen­er­at­ing elec­tric­ity by the mid­dle of the year.”

There are no guar­an­tees in place for con­struc­tion of a 55-tower sec­ond stage.

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