Goldwind Australia’s 530MW Stockyard Hill wind farm has begun sending power to the grid, after the first of what will be a total of 149 wind turbines was connected to the Victorian transmission network on Tuesday.
The milestone event marked the start of the massive project’s commissioning process, which once complete will make it Australia’s largest wind farm, taking the mantle from the 453MW Coopers Gap project in Queensland.
So far a total of 90 Goldwind 3S turbines have been installed at the site in Western Victoria. Goldwind said the first of the project’s three substations had been energised, enabling the first turbine to be commissioned and deliver electricity into the national electricity market. The remaining two substations are expected to be fully commissioned and energised in June.
The milestone is the latest for a project that in 2017 stunned the clean energy industry by setting what was a new benchmark for renewables off-take deals in Australia, after Origin Energy signed a long-term power purchase agreement of below $55/MWh, including the renewable energy certificates. Ultimately it will generate enough renewable electricity to power 425,000 homes.
“The project team and its contractors have worked tirelessly to achieve this milestone,” said Goldwind Australia managing director, John Titchen, in a statement.
“The project’s size has at times proved challenging during construction, not only in constructing the wind farm infrastructure, but also constructing the 75-kilometre 132 kV multi duplex powerline and the Haunted Gully Terminal Station, which connects the project into the national energy grid.”
“The highly focused team has worked collaboratively with project stakeholders to overcome these challenges and remain on schedule. The team has adapted well to managing risk during this difficult time and continues to make good progress,” Titchen said.
The Australian Wind Alliance said in a statement said that the huge project would drive economic activity in Victoria’s Grampians region for the next 25 years, providing jobs, lease payments to farmers and $300,000 a year through a local community fund.
“The need to stimulate the state economy in the wake of Covid-19 presents an opportunity to bring forward the second stage of Victoria’s Renewable Energy Target and keep the jobs pipeline going,” said the AWA’s Victorian organiser, Tony Goodfellow.
“The first stage of the VRET has been very successful to date in driving construction jobs growth in the region and supporting local wind tower manufacturing.
“Building out the electricity network in Western Victoria will be critical to allow new wind and solar farms to supply more cheap, clean energy for the state and bring down emissions through the replacement of coal,” Goodfellow was quoted as saying in the Ballarat Courier.