ONE of Australia’s biggest wind farms has been launched in South Australia, bringing the total wind power in the State to 740 megawatts — or 58% of the nation’s total wind-generated power.
Premier Mike Rann says TrustPower’s $220 million power station with 47 Suzlon Energy-built turbines ist atop the Barunga Range — one of the windiest places in the State’s mid-north.
“It alone will generate more than 98 megawatts of energy — enough to power around 50,000 homes a year,” Mr Rann says.
“By next year, when two more wind farms under construction are completed, South Australia will have more than 860 megawatts of wind generation capacity installed, Rann said.
“South Australia’s Strategic Plan contains ambitious renewable energy targets that say our State should be both generating and consuming 20% of renewable energy by the year 2014.
“Thanks to installations such as this Snowtown wind farm, as well as the vast amount of solar power that has been connected to the electricity grid, our State is on track to reach this target four years ahead of schedule.
“We’re also the clear national leader in the development of the truly emissions-free geothermal — or “hot rocks” — power source.”
South Australia is currently home to more than 80% of Australia’s total investment in geothermal exploration, research and development, which is worth more than $680 million.
According to Rann, SA is this first State in the nation — and the third jurisdiction in the world – to introduce dedicated Climate Change legislation which sets a target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by at least 60% of 1990 levels by the end of 2050.
“This new wind farm near Snowtown represents a great show of support and confidence, not only for this increasingly important industry, but for the town and this region.
“It provides important economic opportunities for the region, including hundreds of jobs and a valuable source of income for landowners as we continue to suffer the ongoing effects of drought.
“South Australia has some of the best wind profiles of any Australian State along and beyond our 3,700 kilometres of coastline.
“But we are not resting on our laurels: our next challenge will be maintaining this share as demand grows, fuelled by the huge expansion in the State’s mining industry.
“The State Government is strongly committed to developing other sources of green power.
“I congratulate TrustPower on this development and on its commitment to producing electricity from renewable sources.
“I also congratulate them for the work it’s done to keep the local community informed, including them in the development plans, and for being an active supporter of businesses and events in the region.
“I would also like to acknowledge the work of Suzlon Energy Australia, which is part of the giant India-based Suzlon Energy operation – the largest manufacturer of wind turbines in Asia,” Rann added.