News Article from the Sydney Morning Herald….
A western NSW wind farm dubbed the largest in Australia could be up and running by the end of 2009, the company behind it says.
Renewable energy group Epuron announced its proposal today to install about 500 wind turbines north-west of Broken Hill, in far western NSW, saying they could generate enough electricity for 400,000 homes.
Epuron executive director Andrew Durran said if the NSW Government approved the wind farm near Silverton, the project could be operational in stages by late 2009.
The company will submit a development application for the farm in March next year, with approval expected by the end of the year.
Construction would begin early in 2009.
The $2 billion project could produce up to 4.5 per cent of NSW annual energy needs, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 3 million tonnes of carbon dioxide a year, the company said.
“Silverton Wind Farm will be one of the largest in the world once it’s operating, with the potential for almost 1000 megawatts of renewable energy capacity,” Mr Durran said.
“NSW is an excellent state for wind farms. It has an excellent wind resource, it has a very strong transmission system, and it has got the largest energy load, so from our perspective NSW has a great potential for wind technology.”
Mr Durran said he had also spoken to the communities of Silverton and Broken Hill, with most people showing support for the project.
The operation and maintenance of the facility would create 100 permanent jobs in the area, he said.
Meanwhile, four landholders had already agreed to host the wind turbines.
“The townspeople in the area recognise the jobs and economic benefits from this project,” he said.
“They also recognise that to date their towns have relied on mining as a income source. This provides a new income source for the region.”
However, Mr Durran said the differences between the federal and NSW clean energy targets were a concern, as they created confusion and delays for renewable energy providers.
Under the Federal Government’s national Clean Energy Target, announced last month, 30,000 gigawatt hours each year would come from low emissions sources by 2020 – about 15 per cent of Australia’s energy consumption.
Prime Minister John Howard said the Government would consult with states and industry in designing and implementing the scheme, which he said would take effect no later than January 2010.
The federal plan would replace state-based schemes, he said.
The ‘i’ have been dotted and all the ‘T’ crossed ,lets see if the Federal Government can work together with the states to get this fantastic project of the ground and support innovative business who are trying to do their bit…. can we afford to wait until 2010 or should we start now?