The mammoth Stockyard Hill Wind Farm near Beaufort is set to be producing power for up to 400,000 Victorian homes by the end of 2020 after shovels hit the turf on Thursday.
Along with a cast of thousands, Premier Daniel Andrews turned the first sod on the 149-turbine project which has been more than a decade in the making.
The farm is the biggest of its kind in the southern hemisphere.
The Goldwind development, which will generate up to 530 megawatts of energy, will take about two years to complete and will create up to 300 jobs in construction. A further 25 full-time maintenance staff will remain on site once the farm is up and running.
Goldwind managing director John Titchen said while the project had taken years to get off the ground, he was confident the farm now had near-unanimous support.
“It is a long journey to get a project like Stockyard Hill to construction...it takes a lot of effort in terms of planning, engaging with host land owners and connecting the project to the grid,” Mr Tichen said.
“Now we have a clear plan to go ahead.”
Goldwind is locked into an electricity purchase agreement with Origin Energy which will run through until 2030.
The wind farm just outside of Beaufort is one of a host of new renewable energy sources which is expected to begin feeding into the grid in coming years.
Works on the 107-turbine Moorabool Wind Farm, also being built by Goldwind, is due to get underway by mid-2018, while construction of the 64-turbine Lal Lal Wind Farm is also due to get underway this year.
While Stockyard Hill will hold the crown as the nation’s largest once completed in 2020, it could soon be usurped by the proposed Golden Plains farm near Rokewood, which would add up to 1000 megawatts of energy to the grid through 228 turbines.
Mr Andrews said “we know these assets are going to be here for a very long time and we’re pleased to provide the regulatory certainty”.