Wind farm set to go
Saturday, 24th March, 2012
By Paula Doran
Australia’s largest privately owned renewable energy business, AGL Energy, is the new owner of the Silverton Wind Farm.
The buy-out from project instigators, Epuron, has been in the wind (no pun intended) for months but was yesterday confirmed.
In a project that has brought about tense debate in the local community members, AGL said it was looking forward to working with Silverton residents and would work to stimulate the region’s economy through job creation and training in the renewables sector.
Over the past five years AGL has announced the construction of renewable electricity generation projects totaling $2.2 billion.
Their new purchase in Silverton has development approval for 282 wind turbines in Stage 1 and concept approval for a further 316 in stages.
Scott Thomas, AGL’s General Manager Business Customers and Power Development, said the purchase was consistent with AGL’s leadership position in renewable energy.
“We are looking forward to continuing the consultation process with the Silverton community and other stakeholders,” Mr Thomas said.
The company said it will hold an information session to outline AGL’s credentials and expertise in wind farm development, as well as its broad plans for the Silverton Wind Farm.
Subject to market conditions, AGL expects that construction of the project could begin next year. It has already received development approval, and has been allocated a special purposes lease from the State Government for access to pastoral country earmarked for future turbine construction.
“Silverton has a high quality wind resource with a wind speed of approximately eight metres per second and a wind farm capacity factor of around 40 percent. This capacity factor is equal or superior to other projects in AGL’s wind farm development pipeline,” Mr Thomas said.
The Silverton project, which stretches from the Barrier Ranges to the edge of the Mundi Mundi Plains, will be AGL’s first wind farm in NSW. The company already operates them in Hallet and Mt Bryan in SA.
In December 2010 after complaints from residents near its Hallett project about the noise, the company shut down a number of turbines close to houses.
AGL has since worked with turbine suppliers to rectify noise problems.
Similarly, AGL said it would consult with the Silverton community to minimise any disturbance to residents living near the wind farm.