Trustpower Cements Kiwi Place on Australian Wind Energy Landscape

Tauranga based Trustpower, New Zealand fifth largest electricity retailer and generator, is celebrating the completion of its largest single asset, the Snowtown Wind Farm in South Australia.

The Snowtown Wind Farm spans 32km of the Hummocks and Barunga ranges in South Australia’s Mid-North region, 150km north of Adelaide. The site, which is home to a range of farming activities including sheep, beef and cropping, has an elevation of 300-430 metres above sea level.

The completion of the Snowtown Stage 2 development means the Snowtown Wind Farm now provides enough power to supply 230,000 South Australian homes, equivalent to 10% of South Australia’s total electricity consumption.

In environmental terms, this mean the Snowtown Wind Farm now offsets close to 1,000,000 tonnes of CO2 per annum, produced by coal-fired generation which the wind farm displaces. This is the equivalent of removing approximately 200,000 petrol powered vehicles from Australian roads.

The formal opening of the completed Snowtown Stage 2 development took place today, Sunday 2nd November, with a community event celebrating the occasion and recognising the support of local landowners and the wider community.

South Australian Premier Jay Weatherill, local MPs and Mayors, representatives of Trustpower and turbine supplier and installer Siemens, other contractors, landowners and the local community joined together to celebrate the occasion. The day encompassed community events, performances by a youth wind orchestra and a local school choir, a children’s “wind farm art” competition, information displays, tours of the completed wind farm, and Siemen’s ambassador and world acclaimed cyclist Cadel Evans riding like the wind with locals.

Trustpower Chief Executive Vince Hawksworth says Trustpower is proud to have been able to join with the Snowtown community celebrating the opening of Trustpower’s largest single asset, South Australia’s largest, and Australia’ second largest, wind farm.

“Climate change is an issue affecting the lives of everybody. Those of us lucky to live on either side of the Tasman Sea have become increasingly aware of that, and the impact it can potentially have on our lives and our country’s economies if we don’t all play a part in changing our ways.

This project is another great step in the transformation to a sustainable electricity generation environment, and Trustpower is proud to be investing in that,” Mr Hawksworth said.

“Special thanks have to go to the local community and land owners for their unwavering support over the last 8 years, to Siemens for delivering leading edge technology and bringing the project in ahead of time and under budget, and to all of the other contractors and stakeholders who have in so many ways played their part in making this happen.”

South Australian Premier, Mr Jay Weatherill, said the Snowtown II plant came on-line at a critical juncture for the Australian renewable energy industry.

“This plant confirms South Australia’s commitment to being the nation’s leader when it comes to providing efficient renewable wind energy programs. It is a key platform in our plan for renewable energy to supply 50 per cent of the state’s annual power by 2025,” Mr Weatherill said.

Siemens CEO Jeff Connolly said the plan epitomised a program that benefitted all stakeholders.

“It’s good for the economy, good for the environment and, importantly, good for the local community,” Mr Connolly said. “Snowtown Stage 2 demonstrates what can be achieved when combining German technology with South Australian know-how and New Zealand investment.”

Snowtown Wind Farm Facts:
Stage 1 of the wind farm, an investment of $220 million and consisting of 47 Suzlon 2.1 MW turbines, has been in operation since 2008. It produces 345 GWh per annum, enough power to supply 50,000 average South Australian homes.

Development of Stage 2 of the Snowtown Wind Farm, a further investment of $439 million, began in July 2012, following an agreement with Siemens to use 90 of that company’s latest technology direct drive 3.0 MW turbines, located north and south of the original Stage 1 development. Eighty of the turbines have a 108 metre rotor diameter, while the other 10 have 101 metre rotor diameter. With an installed capacity of 270 MW, Stage 2 is expected to produce an additional 989 GWh per annum. Origin Energy has contracted to take the output of the Snowtown 2 Wind Farm.

Stages 1 and 2 of the wind farm operate independently of each other, each having their own dedicated communication systems, reticulation networks, substations, and associated infrastructure. This operation independence helps to mitigate wind farm and network operational risks.