Victoria’s Ararat Wind Farm, powered by RES, Downer and GE, has today received its first shipment of GE turbine blades. The delivery marks an important milestone in the development of Australia’s third largest wind farm, which is projected to inject almost $8 million into the local economy.
Arriving in Victoria today, the blade shipment weighs-in at over 2,000 tonnes and consists of 225, 50-metre long turbine blades. The delivery will see the Ararat Wind Farm switch to its full employment capacity of 165 workers over the two-year development period.
Matt Rebbeck, COO of RES Australia, the project developer said the arrival of the first blade into Ararat symbolises a decade’s worth of work. “Today is a proud moment for RES Australia and the Ararat community and shows the result of our deep involvement and long term engagement over the last ten years. We are particularly pleased to have The Victorian Premier, the Hon. Daniel Andrews officiate today’s events demonstrating ongoing support for the Ararat Wind Farm project and renewable energy developments in the state of Victoria.”
Geoff Culbert, CEO of GE Australia, New Zealand & PNG said the project has reached a critical point in the development of Australia’s renewable energy sector. “The Ararat Wind Farm is proof that Australia’s renewables industry creates investment and jobs, and drives economic benefit for local communities. We’re excited to also welcome the 165 workers from the local community who are so integral to the project’s success,” he said.
The Ararat Wind Farm has set up a community fund to support local causes and a total of $75,000 per annum will be contributed to three of the local council areas. The project is also committed to using local suppliers where possible, and is already engaging Dale Bell Fencing and Kings Cars.
“The arrival of the blades marks the next phase of construction that will see work start on the installation of 75 wind turbines that will generate electricity to power around 120,000 homes per annum, or about six percent of Victorian households,” said Trevor Cohen, Executive Director, Downer Utilities.
“Once complete, the Ararat Wind Farm will be a world class project that plays a key part in Australia’s renewable energy future.”
Ararat Wind Farm’s General Manager, Stuart Liddell said the integration with local community has been key to their success to date.
“This is a great opportunity to continue our community engagement activities and provide an occasion that enables members of the public to observe first hand, the size and scale of equipment being installed at the wind farm.”
Valued at A$450 million, the arrival of GE blades at the site indicates the project is on budget and schedule.
The Ararat Wind Farm Pty Ltd is co-owned by a consortium of Renewable Energy Systems (“RES”), GE (NYSE: GE), Partners Group on behalf of its clients, and OPTrust. The 240MW Ararat Wind Farm in south-west Victoria will be the third largest wind farm in Australia and has attracted almost half a billion dollars of direct international investment into Victoria.
The Ararat Wind Farm was the first major wind farm contract to be signed following restored bipartisan support for the Renewable Energy Target (RET) in June 2015. Construction of the wind farm is a joint venture between Downer and GE.
The project also benefits from a power purchase agreement with the Australian Capital Territory Government (ACT), guaranteeing the purchase of approximately 40 per cent of the energy produced at the site, which was awarded under the ACT’s Wind Auction announcement in February 2015.