Wind farm upgrade to stay

Talitha WolfeAlbany Advertiser

Refurbishment of the Albany Wind Farm will continue as planned despite the State Government’s plan to part-privatise Synergy.

The Albany and Grasmere wind farms are to be transferred into a green power fund which, while operated by State-owned energy generator Synergy, will be 80 per cent owned by a private investor, reported to be the Dutch Infrastructure Fund.

WA Energy Minister Ben Wyatt announced the joint venture between Synergy and a private investor in November as a solution to the State’s obligations under Federal green energy laws.

The private investor will finance WA’s next wave of renewable energy projects as part of the green fund, but Synergy will have a 20 per cent share and retain operating control.

Under the Large-scale Renewable Energy Target, 33,000 gigawatt hours of renewable energy are required to be produced nationally by 2020 and those levels maintained until 2030.

Mr Wyatt said discussions were under way between Synergy and the private investor, with an announcement yet to be made, but he had ensured the future of the Albany wind farms.

“The refurbishment of Albany Wind Farm is still anticipated to commence between April and June as originally planned ... while no specific date has been set,” Mr Wyatt said.

He said the 12-turbine Albany Wind Farm, commissioned in 2001, would reach the end of its lifespan in the early to mid-2020s.

“It will ensure the longevity of Albany Wind Farm and Grasmere, while also enabling investment in new renewable assets,” Mr Wyatt said.

“The State’s overall ownership of renewable energy assets in the SWIS (South West Integrated System) will increase through Synergy’s strategy.”

The fund will be limited to the wind farms, with the minister ruling out green energy projects, such as Carnegie’s wave energy plant, being transferred into the fund.

The Greenough River solar project, and all the existing assets of its Warradarge project at Eneabba, will also be transferred to the fund.

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