Ararat Wind Farm is now feeding renewable electricity into the national grid and to the Australian Capital Territory (ACT).
Last Friday (April 14), some of the wind farm’s turbines were “flicked over” to provide electricity to the ACT.
The final of the wind farm’s 75 turbines was installed in mid-February. The turbines are tested and then connected, with the practical completion date of the whole project slated for May 4.
The ACT Government signed an agreement with Ararat Wind Farm Pty Ltd to purchase about 40 per cent of the energy produced at the site. This was awarded as a part of the ACT Wind Auction and the Government’s plans to source 90 per cent of its electricity needs from renewables by 2020.
Ararat Rural City Council Mayor Paul Hooper said that agreement, signed in 2015, was one of the primary reasons the project went ahead.
Cr Hooper said it was a “really significant” project for Ararat, which marked a $450 million investment, 350 contractors employed at its construction peak; and more than $40 million into the Ararat economy during the construction, which lasted about 18 months.
“It was completed on time and to a very high standard,” Cr Hooper said.
He said project developer RES Australia had been “...very, very good corporate citizens and continue to be”.
The mayor said it was a terrible plight on the project that one of the subcontractors, SMB Civil, went into administration in January and contractors had been left thousands of dollars out of pocket.
ACT Minister for Climate Change and Sustainability Shane Rattenbury said today: “The farm will generate about 272,000 megawatt-hours of clean, renewable electricity each year which is enough to power around 37,000 Canberra homes and ensure we are well on the way to achieving our 100 per cent renewable electricity target.
“The ACT’s agreement with the Ararat Wind Farm provided certainty for investors and enabled construction to commence in late 2015,” the Greens Legislative Assembly member said.
“This is good news for consumers as well as climate change mitigation, as the ACT Government has locked-in a set price for the renewable electricity produced by 10 wind and solar projects, including Ararat, for the next 20 years.”
The Ararat Wind Farm will be operated and managed by Windlab.
Friends of the Earth’s renewable energy spokesperson Pat Simons said the jobs created by the Ararat Wind Farm were a sign of things to come, with the Andrews government's Victorian Renewable Energy Target to build 5400MW of new wind and solar farms across the state by 2025.
“Building renewables is a smart way to create jobs while acting on climate change,” Mr Simons said.
He said legislation to enshrine the Victorian Renewable Energy Target is expected to pass the parliament in coming months, with key cross-benchers Fiona Pattern (The Sex Party) and James Purcell (Local Jobs 1st) having voted for the Climate Change Act and expressing public support for the target.