Wind energy in Australia: Origin’s largest ever wind power

Origin Energy Limited and New Zealand’s TrustPower announced the signing of Origin’s largest ever wind power purchase agreement in which it will be supplied the renewable energy generated by TrustPower’s planned Snowtown II Wind Farm in South Australia.

Snowtown II Wind Farm, which will comprise 90 wind turbines with an installed wind power capacity of 270 MW, will be located adjacent to TrustPower’s 100 MW Snowtown Wind Farm, with which Origin holds an existing power purchase agreement.

Under the terms of the new 15-year agreement, Origin will be supplied with 100 per cent of the output and Rewewable Energy Certificates (RECs) from Snowtown II, which is expected to commence operations in 2014. Origin will pay only for the energy and RECS generated by the wind farm.

Origin Chief Executive Officer, Energy Markets, Frank Calabria said, ‘Origin is an active investor in the renewable energy sector and this new power purchase agreement will directly underpin the development of the Snowtown II Wind Farm. ‘The agreement demonstates our commitment to supporting a range of renewable energy sources and options to meet both our obligations under the Federal Government’s Large Scale Renewable Energy Target and customer demand for cleaner energy,’ Mr Calabria said.

Snowtown II Wind Farm will be located approximately 160 kilometres north west of Adelaide. Construction is expected to commence later this year, subject to the completion of a number of conditions precedent. TrustPower Chief Executive, Vince Hawksworth said, ‘TrustPower is delighted to have reached agreement with Origin, which represents a significant milestone for the Snowtown II project.’

As the leading Australian integrated energy company, Origin has a large portfolio of diversified renewable energy opportunities, including geothermal, hydro, solar and wind, and holds a leadership position in the green energy market with more than 500,000 green energy customers.

Origin currently has nine power purchase agreements in place with wind farm operators in New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia, representing a total of 457 MW. The signing of the Snowtown II Wind Farm agreement with TrustPower stands to contribute an additional 270 MW.

Origin Energy (ASX: ORG) is the leading Australian integrated energy company focused on gas and oil exploration and production, power generation and energy retailing. A member of the S&P/ASX 20 index, the company has around 5,600 employees and is a leading producer of gas in eastern Australia.

Origin is Australia’s largest energy retailer servicing 4.4 million electricity, natural gas and LPG customer accounts and has one of the country’s largest and most flexible generation portfolios with more than 5,310 MW of capacity, through either owned generation or contracted rights.

Origin’s strategic positioning and portfolio of assets provide flexibility, stability and significant opportunities for growth across the energy industry. Through Australia Pacific LNG, its incorporated joint venture with ConocoPhillips and Sinopec, Origin is developing one of Australia’s largest CSG to LNG projects based on Australia’s largest 2P CSG reserves base.

In New Zealand, Origin is the major shareholder in Contact Energy, the country’s leading integrated energy company, operating geothermal energy, thermal and hydro generation facilities and servicing electricity, gas and LPG customers across both the North and South islands. Origin also operates several oil and gas projects in New Zealand and is one of the largest holders of petroleum exploration acreage in the country.

Origin has a strong focus on ensuring the sustainability of its operations is the largest green energy retailer in Australia and has significant investments in renewable energy technologies.

TrustPower is New Zealand’s fifth largest electricity retailer /generator, and the sixth largest company by market capitalisation on the NZX. From its base in Tauranga, TrustPower manages a portfolio of 36 hydro generation stations, geographically spread across New Zealand, the Tararua wind farm, New Zealand’s largest, on the North Island’s Tararua Ranges, a second wind farm at Mahinerangi in the South Island, a diesel peaking plant adjacent to the New Zealand oil refinery at Marsden Point, and the Snowtown wind farm in South Australia.

TrustPower, which has shareholder funds in excess of NZ$ 1.4 billion and annual operating revenue in excess of NZ$ 750 million, is 50.5% owned by New Zealand Infrastructure Investment company Infratil and 33% by the Tauranga Energy Consumer Trust. The company, which employs 480 people, has around 210,000 retail customers in New Zealand, where it generates, approximately, 2,425 GWh per annum.

TrustPower has been active in Australia for the past decade, and in addition to its successful Snowtown wind farm in South Australia, is actively exploring wind farm investment opportunities at sites it has been evaluating in several other states.