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Wind farm hope

Friday, 25th February, 2011

Epuron still committed to project Epuron still committed to project

Epuron still committed to project

By John Casey

Silverton wind farm developers Epuron say the project is progressing and more significant activity at the site could happen before the end of the year.

Epuron recently finalised an agreement for transmission lines easement which will "really advance work" on the project, according to Epuron spokesperson, Donna Bolton.

"We have been working very hard with the Willyama Common Trust, individual land holders and other entities to finalise this agreement and now that is done the horizon is looking much clearer," Ms Bolton said.

"In a perfect world we would like to see more activity at the site before the end of the year, but that is something I can't guarantee."

Epuron is also upbeat about results generated by its wind monitoring towers which indicate Silverton is one of the top performers.

"We have tested in 13 different locations at the Silverton site using towers from 62-metres up to more than 100-metres and the monitoring indicates a good wind regime exists," Ms Bolton said.

While exact figures from the testing are considered commercially sensitive and can't be released, Ms Bolton pointed out that results for Silverton were far superior to other wind farm projects currently being undertaken.

Epuron announced last week that it would be constructing a further three wind farms in NSW at a cost of almost $3 billion, but Ms Bolton was adamant the expansion would not adversely effect the Silverton project.

"Those developments don't draw capital or our expertise away from Silverton ... we still have people at both Epuron and our partners Macquarie Capital working very hard on the Silverton project," Ms Bolton said.

The new projects, to be located in the Hunter Valley, Rye Park and near Glen Innes, would still leave NSW well short of its renewable energy obligations making Silverton vitally important to the state according to Ms Bolton.

News yesterday that AGL Energy would be postponing $2 billion of wind farm projects because of low renewable energy credits and the lack of a carbon price also failed to stifle Ms Bolton's outlook.

"The announcement from AGL is sending a clear message to Prime Minister Julia Gillard that as an industry we need a carbon price in place to provide greater certainty for the future," Ms Bolton said.

"A price on carbon will also help with investor certainty."

Ms Bolton also said that the conclusion of negotiations between the NSW government and electricity retailers would also provide more clarity for the industry.

"It has been very challenging for us with the electricity retailers tied up in such a complex and confusing sale process with the government, but in the long term having that agreement finalised will provide more certainty for everyone involved in the sector," Ms Bolton added.

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