CANBERRA, 28 April 2015: Australian wind energy company Windlab Limited will begin building a $50 million wind farm north west of Bendigo in July after securing funding from a major Japanese investor. The project achieved financial close today.
Construction of Coonooer Bridge Wind Farm (CBWF) will be largely funded by Eurus Energy Holdings Corporation of Japan, in partnership with Canberra based Windlab and members of the local community. Under the terms of the investment agreement, Eurus will provide a majority of project equity and will own approximately 80% of the wind farm with the balance to be owned by Windlab and around 30 project neighbours. Project debt has been arranged and provided by Australia and New Zealand Banking Group.
Construction of the six turbine wind farm is expected to be completed by early 2016, creating over 70 construction jobs. On completion, the wind farm is expected to generate around 80,000 megawatt hours of electricity per annum – enough power to supply 14,000 homes.
Regional Victoria’s Buloke Shire Council approved the project in 2013 and it received a 20 year Feed-In-Tariff from the ACT Government in January this year, as part of the ACT’s ambitious and forward looking Climate Change Action Plan.
This plan requires the territory to source 90% of its electricity needs from renewable sources by 2020.
The CBWF project is the first of the three wind projects awarded Feed-In-Tariffs by the ACT government to start construction.
Windlab Chief Executive Officer Mr Roger Price said this project demonstrated the “enormous opportunity and benefit” provided by renewable energy.
“This is the cheapest wind energy produced in Australia and the reason for that is it is the best wind resource in Australia. At $81.50 fixed for 20 years, this electricity is more than cost competitive with any form of new build conventional generation.”
“This location has both strong and consistent winds. It will produce energy nearly 90% of the time and these conditions have attracted our major international investor, Eurus.”
“This is a win-win for the local community which wholeheartedly supports this development, for our company, for the residents of the ACT and all who support renewable energy.”
Eurus President and Chief Executive Officer Masami Shimizu commented: “We are committed to the Australian renewable energy market and are very pleased to partner with Windlab and the local community of Coonooer Bridge to add this Wind Farm to our Australian portfolio.”
“Coonooer Bridge enjoys a fantastic wind resource, perhaps one of the best in Australia. By taking advantage of this natural occurrence we can provide low cost energy to thousands of Australian homes.”
Windlab has selected Vestas as both the EPC contractor and wind turbine supplier for the project. Vestas will also support the ongoing operation of the project through a long term warranty, operations and maintenance agreement.
Windlab will continue to manage the project through its global operation centre based in Canberra.