THE Shire of Coorow is welcoming of the State Government’s announcement that it has given the go-ahead for construction to begin at the 180-megawatt Warradarge Wind Farm, near Eneabba.
The Warradarge Wind Farm has been recognised as one of the best renewable energy projects in Australia due to its location and abundant wind resource, according to Energy Minister Bill Johnston.
Its 51 turbines will be among the largest in WA with a tip height of 152 metres, sporting some of the longest blades onshore at 66 metres.
Coorow Shire president Moira Girando, Marchagee, said any investment into the region was welcome especially if it would create local jobs and boost tourism.
Ms Girando said the Shire had a declining population and she hoped that the renewable energy industry could create more employment in the area to help control that.
She said the Shire has a “long term (10 year) plan” to install solar panels on “all council run buildings”, staging it so as not to be a burden on ratepayers.
In the announcement made before Christmas, Mr Johnston said the Warradarge Wind Farm project would be funded and developed by Bright Energy Investments (BEI) – a partnership between Synergy and the private sector launched by the State Government in April.
Mr Johnston said the sustainable energy solutions company Vestas, which claims “more than 17 per cent of the global installed base” from wind farms, has been awarded the engineering, procurement and construction, as well as operations and maintenance contracts.
“I’m delighted to announce the construction of the Warradarge Wind Farm will be going ahead and will create up to 200 jobs for Western Australians,” Mr Johnston said.
“The wind farm will have a total output of 180 megawatts with a 50pc capacity factor – the equivalent of the average annual electricity needs of 135,000 WA homes.
“The State Government remains committed to ensuring a transition to a renewable energy future at the lowest cost possible to WA taxpayers.
“By developing renewables projects, we are demonstrating our commitment to ensuring our State meets its 2020 Large-scale Renewable Energy Target obligations.”
Western Power will construct the 10-kilometre transmission line from the wind farm sub-station to the network connection point near Eneabba.
Other BEI projects include the Albany Grasmere Wind Farm and Greenough River Solar Farm near Geraldton.
Vestas Asia Pacific president Clive Turton said he was “extremely pleased to work with BEI on this project”.
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“It has extraordinary wind conditions and will make an important contribution to powering WA with competitive renewable energy,” Mr Turton said.
“After the Warradarge Wind Farm comes online, Vestas will have an installed base of 561 megawatt in WA, expanding our service footprint and capability to support future projects in the State.”
BEI general manager Tom Frood was confident that the Warradarge Wind Farm would be delivered “smoothly and on-schedule”.
“Synergy has a strong history in WA solar and wind assets, and is committed to increasing its renewable energy portfolio, and Vestas’ rich industry expertise and proven track record will ensure that the first power generation is on track for 2020,” Mr Frood said.
Commercial operations at Warradarge Wind Farm are scheduled to commence in the third quarter of 2020.
The specifics announcement by the State Government were somewhat different to the details in the Urbis Planning Compliance Report 2012.
The report however said that “the proposed Warradarge Wind Farm will result in minimal onsite modification to the existing rural landform and minimal modification to vegetation in the Rural zone” in the Shire of Coorow.
“Whilst it is acknowledged that the Wind Farm will be visible from surrounding local and regional locations, these views are limited as a consequence of the distance of the site from developed areas such as Coorow, Leeman, Greenhead, Eneabba and Carnamah,” it said.