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New south-east NSW wind farm to be built to power the ACT with renewable energy

A local wind farm has won a bid to supply 41,600 ACT homes with energy, while a third successful bid from a South Australian project means it will provide a major chunk of Canberra's renewable power by 2020.

Environment Minister Simon Corbell on Tuesday announced what he described as the "final piece" in the government's plan for 100 per cent renewable energy by 2020

A 91MW $200 million Crookwell wind farm, to be built by Spanish-owned company Union Fenosa Wind Australia, has won the right to be paid feed-in tariff grants under the government's reverse auction process. 

The project, due to be completed in September 2018, will build 28 turbines able to power 41,600 Canberra homes. 

New wind farms in Crookwell and South Australia will help ensure the ACT meets its 2020 100 per cent renewable energy target, according to Environment Minister Simon Corbell.

Mr Corbell said the Crookwell farm would be paid $86.60/MWh for the energy it feeds into the grid, which he said was a record low for a NSW wind farm.

The other successful bidder was the Hornsdale Wind Farm, being built by Neoen International SAS and Megawatt Capital north of Adelaide.

The Hornsdale project has already been successful in the first and second rounds of ACT wind auctions, and is building the capacity for 309MW in total.

A third stage of development for the Hornsdale farm will see it with enough energy to power a further 56,600 homes in Canberra, at a fixed 20-year price to the government of $73/MWh. 

Mr Corbell said the two successful bids secured the final renewable energy needed to meet the 100 per cent target.

"€œIt is with great satisfaction that the government can announce this final piece of our plan," Mr Corbell said.

"These two wind farms will lift our renewable energy percentage to 100 per cent by 2020 and secure the achievement of our emission reduction goals in that year."

The NSW government said the $200 million Crookwell wind farm would directly support 80 construction jobs and 14 ongoing operational jobs. 

Union Fenosa has also committed to a "community enhancement fund" of $2500 per turbine, and established a shared benefits scheme for those living nearby, according to NSW Resources and Energy deputy secretary Kylie Hargreaves.

Ms Hargreaves said nearby farmers will be able to continue working the land surrounding the turbines.

"NSW offers a number of sites which offer a combination of high average wind speeds, consistent winds, and smooth landscapes," Ms Hargreaves said.

"The construction of this wind farm will contribute to the financial security of the people of the Upper Lachlan, Crookwell, and Goulburn, and demonstrate the potential of renewable energy to transform our regional communities."

The Crookwell farm is the second NSW wind farm to win the feed-in tariff from the ACT, Ms Hargreaves said.

The other, the Sapphire Wind Farm in New England, secured a 100 megawatt feed in tariff in March, and is expected to begin construction this year.

Earlier this year, it was reported that the move to 100 per cent renewables will cost ACT taxpayers an extra $117 million a year in 2020, when Canberra is expected to use about three million megawatt hours.

The average household will spend roughly $290 extra a year in 2020, based on renewables costing about $40 a megawatt hour more than non-renewable sources.

Mr Corbell has previously said those costs will be offset by other government programs saving Canberra households money on their energy bills, including, for example, energy efficient lightbulb replacements.

Source: The Canberra Times

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