According to an independent study, the South West Regional and Victorian economies have significantly benefited from the development and construction of AGL Energy Limited's (AGL's) two Victorian wind farms, adding almost $67 million or just over one percent, to Gross Regional Product.

With combined project investment for the Oaklands Hill Wind Farm near Glenthompson and the Macarthur Wind Farm, currently under construction, of approximately $1.2 billion, the projects have boosted regional employment by almost 900 people during construction and will create an estimated 52 ongoing regional jobs.

The study, undertaken by consultants Sinclair Knight Merz (SKM), also estimates that nationally, the projects will provide over 2,700 jobs during development and construction and 150 ongoing jobs.

General Manager Business Customers & Power Development, Scott Thomas, said: "This study demonstrates the very real and ongoing benefits that wind farm developments have for regional, state and Australian economies.

"As AGL and other companies continue to develop new renewable energy projects, including wind farms, to help meet the Renewable Energy Target, residents and Governments should welcome the economic benefits that these projects bring.

"AGL is very pleased to be an ongoing part of these communities, but also to know that we leave a lasting economic legacy beyond the supply of clean renewable energy that will ultimately mean a better environment for us all," he said.

Key findings of the report include:

  • The projects contributed to an estimated increase in Gross Regional Product of approximately 1.04 percent or $66.8m
  • Total project costs were approximately $1.2 billion, almost $250m of which was spend directly in the region and over $750m in Australia The total number of jobs during development and construction (including flow on employment was 875 in the region; 2,490 in Victoria, and 2,782 in Australia
  • The total number of ongoing jobs (including flow on employment) is 52 regional; 134 Victorian; and 150 Australian jobs
  • Ongoing operational and maintenance expenditure is estimated to be $19.2m per annum, the majority of which will be spent in the region.
  • The study notes that a range of service and facility providers directly benefited from the investments, including those engaged in accommodation, food services and general retail, trade and manufacturing services. It also notes that the investments provide diversified employment opportunities in regions where jobs are traditionally linked to agriculture, fisheries and forestry and retail trade, social assistance and construction.

The Oaklands Hill Wind FarmĀ (total capacity 63MW) was completed in February 2012 and the Macarthur Wind Farm (420MW) is scheduled for completion in early 2013.

Copies of the full report can be downloaded from the AGL website.

About AGL

AGL is one of Australia's leading integrated renewable energy companies and is taking action toward creating a sustainable energy future for our investors, communities and customers. Drawing on 175 years of experience, AGL operates retail and merchant energy businesses, power generation assets and an upstream gas portfolio. AGL has one of Australia's largest retail energy and dual fuel customer bases. AGL has a diverse power generation portfolio including base, peaking and intermediate generation plants, spread across traditional thermal generation as well as renewable sources including hydro, wind, landfill gas and biomass. AGL is Australia's largest private owner and operator of renewable energy assets and is looking to further expand this position by exploring a suite of low emission and renewable energy generation development opportunities.