AGL Energy Limited and Meridian Energy have entered contracts to construct a 420 megawatt wind farm at Macarthur in Victoria’s south west at a total capital cost of $1 billion. On completion in early 2013, the Macarthur Wind Farm will be the largest wind farm in the southern hemisphere, and one of the largest wind farms in the world.
The wind farm will be situated near Hamilton, 260 kilometres west of Melbourne.
It will comprise 140 Vestas 3-megawatt wind turbine generators and will be constructed by Vestas and Leighton Contractors. AGL will acquire all of the wind farm’s energy output and renewable energy certificates.
The project was originally planned in 2008 for completion in 2011 but was put on hold in 2009, when AGL managing director Michael Fraser warned that the renewable energy industry was on the brink of collapse due to a lack of investor certainty about the government’s renewable energy target policy. After the passage of new renewable energy target legislation in June, it was announced that the project would go ahead.
The original plan was to install 174 Suzlon wind turbines but the contract now calls for 140 Vestas turbines. Mr Fraser commented that “As a result of utilising Vestas’s new 3.0 MW V112 turbines, we have been able to increase the capacity of the wind farm while reducing the number of towers from 174 to 140. This reduces the environmental footprint of the project and achieves substantial operating cost savings in excess of $30 million over the life of the wind farm.”
(Image: Vestas V112 Turbine from Vestas press release)