AusNet Services will build, own and operate approximately 38km of new transmission line and a new substation connecting the Dundonnell Wind Farm to the Mortlake Terminal Station, with construction to begin in early 2019.
The $560 million wind farm, located 23km north-east of Mortlake, will comprise 80 Vestas V150-4.2 megawatt turbines over 4,500 hectares and generate 336MW or 1,230GWh per year.
AusNet Services’ Managing Director, Nino Ficca, said, “This project is another big step in helping create an integrated Australian energy market, with a focus on building energy infrastructure that enables a low cost, renewable future.”
AusNet Services’ Executive General Manager Commercial Energy Services, Chad Hymas, said AusNet Services was committed to supporting Australia’s transition to renewable energy.
“AusNet Services is proud to partner with Tilt Renewables for this significant wind farm development that will support western Victoria’s energy supply system and contribute to job growth in regional Victoria,” Mr Hymas said.
To minimise the number of poles and wires, Tilt Renewables has been able to establish an agreement for a shared transmission line solution which will be able to be used by other wind farm operators – avoiding the need for duplicate infrastructure.
Tilt Renewables will construct a section of dual circuit transmission line for 15 of the total 38km of transmission line required for the Dundonnell Wind Farm to enable future connections from other proposed renewable energy projects in the region.
Deion Campbell, Chief Executive of Tilt Renewables, said that the wind farm development has been driven by the local community but as the number of renewable energy projects increases, there was concern about the potential for duplication of high-voltage transmissions lines criss-crossing the country side.
“Tilt Renewables wants the Dundonnell Wind Farm to be a project that the Dundonnell community can be truly proud of and benefit from. We have worked closely with Woolnorth and AusNet Services over a long period to create a network solution to reduce the amount of transmission line infrastructure. As it’s very rare for the industry to work together like this, it took a lot of work to establish a technical and commercial framework to make this happen,” said Mr Campbell.
The Dundonnell Wind Farm started as an idea more than nine years ago when a group of local farmers engaged with developers to create a wind farm on their properties. The final project configuration includes 12 landholders participating in the Dundonnell Wind Farm.
Will Lynch, a local farmer from Dundonnell and one of the original initiators of the project, said, “We wanted to do more with our land in a way that was sustainable and good for the environment. We’re really pleased that our idea for a local wind farm is now a reality – it’s going to be great for Dundonnell and the local community.”
The wind farm will provide a significant economic boost to the local area and for local businesses, generating more than 200 jobs. It will also provide vital training, skills development and education programmes, support the development of local infrastructure, and create a community fund to support social and environmental programmes.
“Vestas is extremely delighted to have worked with long-term partner Tilt Renewables on the winning bid under the Victorian Renewable Energy Auction Scheme (VREAS),” said Peter Cowling, Head of Vestas Australia and New Zealand.
“We look forward to working closely with our customer and our partners to ensure the lifetime success of the project.”
When complete, this project has the potential to generate enough power for around 245,000 homes, or more than enough power for all of Ballarat, Warrnambool and Geelong.
Around 87 per cent of the power generated from the Dundonnell Wind Farm has already been contracted to both the Victorian State Government, under the Victorian Renewable Energy Auction Scheme (VREAS), and to Snowy Hydro through its Renewable Energy Procurement Program.