WHEN the building of the State’s largest windfarm starts at Glen Innes in a few weeks, it will go a long way towards consolidating the Northern Tablelands’ status as a hub for renewable energy.
That’s outstanding news for the region, according to local State MP Adam Marshall, an unabashed advocate for renewables.
Mr Marshall was responding to an announcement by Goldwind and CECEP Wind-Power Corporation, that construction of the 175 megawatt White Rock Wind Farm would begin at the end of this month.
White Rock will initially have 70 2.5 megawatt turbines, but planning approval has been granted for 119 turbines, to be constructed in stages.
“Building renewable energy projects in this region makes sense – on any measure,” Mr Marshall said.
“The White Rock Wind Farm near Glen Innes will have the capacity to power 75,000 homes a year. In the past, that energy has been generated by coal, and the money we paid for the energy has been spent in communities near coal mines.
“There’s no coal mined in the Northern Tablelands, and there’s never likely to be, but we have unlimited availability of wind and solar energy. Why not harness that energy, and capture some of the revenue from it to build wealth and infrastructure in our own communities?”
The Northern Tablelands electorate is already home to the State’s largest solar farm at Moree, which is capable of powering 24,000 homes each year. The farm is being formally commissioned this month and has just signed a 15-year power purchase agreement with Origin Energy.
Mr Marshall said today’s wind farm announcement by Goldwind and CECWPC was only a first step towards realising the region’s wind generation capacity.
“In October, work is scheduled to begin on CWP Renewable’s Sapphire Wind Farm, also west of Glen Innes, which will eventually see 159 turbines producing clean energy,” he said.
CWP Renewables has already signed a multi-million dollar contract with the Australian Capital Territory government to provide power for 110,000 homes.
Combined, the two wind farm projects will mean hundreds of millions of dollars worth of investment in the Glen Innes and Inverell communities, Mr Marshall said.
Mr Marshall is supporting a push to have TransGrid build a renewable energy hub near Glen Innes.
“A hub would facilitate easier and cheaper access for wind and solar projects to the electricity grid in the Glen Innes district,” he said.
“This may encourage more companies to consider renewables projects in the area, because grid connection costs will be greatly reduced.”
He is also working with Uralla Australian-first Zero Net Energy Town (ZNET) initiative.
“I’ll continue the encourage and strongly support the further development of renewables in the Northern Tablelands,” Mr Marshall said.