Largest Wind Farm in Southern Hemisphere officially opens

The Hon Dr Denis Napthine MP, Premier of Victoria and local member for South-West Coast, today officially opened the Macarthur Wind Farm.  This is the largest wind farm in the Southern Hemisphere and was delivered on time and to budget by joint venture partners AGL Energy Limited (AGL) and Meridian Energy (Meridian).  

To mark the formal opening, the Premier unveiled a commemorative plaque at a ceremony on the wind farm site near Hamilton, 290 kilometres west of Melbourne, in the Shire of Moyne.

The 420 MW, $1 billion, renewable energy project has the capacity to power more than 220,000 average Victorian homes and abate more than 1.7 million tonnes of greenhouse gases every year – the equivalent of taking more than 420,000 cars off the road. 

The Macarthur Wind Farm comprises 140 Vestas V112-3.0 MW wind turbine generators and has been constructed by a Vestas/Leighton Contractors consortium. The site was chosen for its large landholdings, landowner commitment, community support, wind resource and proximity to the existing transmission grid.  

Michael Fraser, AGL Managing Director & CEO said:  “This project has been made possible because of strong bi-partisan political support for Australia’s 2020 Renewable Energy Target.  Projects like this also don’t happen without support from all levels of government, in this case including support from federal, state and local governments.

Premier Napthine said: “It is particularly pleasing that a significant number of the towers used for this project were constructed locally in Portland by Keppel Prince Engineering.”

Federal Minister for Resources and Energy, Mr Gary Gray, has also congratulated AGL, its joint venture partner Meridian and all the contractors and sub-contractors who have seen this project through to fruition.

“The Macarthur Wind Farm is a major investment in clean, renewable Australian energy and in the social and economic development of this community,” said Mr Gray.

“With a project value of about $1 billion, it is the largest wind farm in the entire Southern Hemisphere. It will also provide 20 full-time jobs for local residents, which comes in addition to the many more it created during construction.”
Mr Gray also said that projects like the Macarthur Wind Farm would ensure that Australia is on track to meet the Renewable Energy Target, under which a minimum 20 per cent of our electricity generation will be from renewable sources by 2020.
The Macarthur Wind Farm is the latest addition to AGL’s already significant portfolio of renewable energy generation assets and brings AGL’s renewable energy capacity to 1,720 MW.

“We are proud that it not only delivers clean, renewable energy, but has been able to generate significant economic benefits for the region during development and construction.  This includes approximately 875 jobs in the region, 2,490 in Victoria, and 2,782 in Australia.  A permanent full time workforce of approximately 20 people for the next 25 years of operation will also boost local employment,” said Mr Fraser.

AGL has ensured that the project supports local jobs and industry and as a result Keppel Prince at Portland has been a key supplier to the project, as well as other local businesses.
To mark the occasion and the establishment of a Macarthur Wind Farm Community Fund, Mr Fraser presented a cheque for $40,000 to Roslyn Stewart, representing local Country Fire Authority brigades, to assist in the purchase of Ultra Light Tankers for the Hawkesdale and Willatook Brigades.

“AGL is committed to the communities in which it operates and we hope that this fund will provide enduring positive benefits to the local community through grants that enable the broader community to participate in the benefits the project will bring,” he said.
AGL is working with the Moyne Shire to ensure that the fund’s contributions are allocated to the maximum benefit of the local community.  

The first wind turbine was commissioned at the wind farm on 1 October 2012.  The remaining turbines were then progressively commissioned in sections and by the end of December 2012, all 140 wind turbines were operational.  Practical Completion was achieved on 31 January 2013.

KEY FACTS: Macarthur Wind Farm

Location: 290km west of Melbourne
Contractors: Vestas/Leighton Contractors
Turbines: 140 x 3.0 MW V112
Capacity: 420 MW
Average wind speed: 7.6 m/s
Capacity factor: 35%
Construction schedule: Fully commissioned 31 January 2013
Grid connection: 14km to Heywood-Mooralbool 500kV transmission line
Landowners: 3
Employment: Up to 400 direct jobs at peak during construction, 875 jobs in the region, 2490 in Victoria, 2782 in Australia. Approximately 20 during operation for 25 years

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.