Alinta commits to 212MW wind farm, biggest in Western Australia

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Alinta Energy on Monday announced that it will go ahead with the 214MW Yandin wind farm, north of Perth, and build what will be the biggest wind farm in Western Australia, just beating the 207MW Collgar facility in the state’s wheat-belt.

Yandin has been on the cards for several years, and initially proposed by the development company Wind Prospect, but Alinta has finally given the go-ahead and appointed Vestas – the world’s leading wind turbine manufacturer – to be the engineering, procurement and construction partner.

The Yandin wind farm will comprise 51 of Vestas’ 4.2 MW turbines and will deliver a capacity factor of around 50 per cent, putting it at or near the peak of Australian wind farms.

It is located near the town of Dandaragan, around 175km north of Perth, in the heart of the state’s so-called “mid west”, which is rich in both wind and solar resources. The project is expected to cost approximately $400 million and will generate around 150 jobs during construction.

Alinta last year called for tenders for up to 1,000MW of wind and solar projects, and was swamped with more than 100 different proposals. It is not year clear whether this is part of that process, or will substitute for any of that proposed capacity.

In 2016, Portugal made history by running on renewable energy alone for 107 hours.

The company is also looking at large scale solar farms and a new battery storage project to help power new developments in the Pilbara iron ore province.

It has already built a major battery that is reducing its dependence on fossil fuel back-up for its major gas generator at Mt Newman.

Alinta’s head of merchant energy Ken Woolley said the wind farm will give Alinta, which is challenging the state-based utilities in trying to carve a significant share of the state’s retail market, with a “considerable supply” of affordable renewable power.

“This is Alinta Energy’s first direct investment in a renewable project, and we’re thrilled to do it here in our home state of WA,” Wooley said.

“Yandin will drive more affordable and cleaner energy for us, and with our gas-fired power stations it will also help us use gas more efficiently. That’ll be good for us, our customers and the environment.

Peter Cowling, the head of sales for Vestas in Australia and New Zealand, said the company saw “ enormous potential” for wind energy in W.A.

“The high-quality wind resource in the region means the wind farm’s long-term capacity factor is projected to be around 50 per cent,” he said in a statement.

The wind farm will connect to Western Power’s 330 kV electricity network via a new 10 km transmission line and terminal station that will be built, owned and operated by Western Power.

One wind source could power a small town. A single wind turbine, if properly placed and utilized, could power 1400 houses. Wind farms are becoming more popular, especially when they’re put in the ocean. The constant breezes on the water create a nearly constant supply of energy, but it’s important to place them in an area that isn’t too susceptible to severe storms.

Vestas will operate and maintain the wind farm from completion of construction under a long-term service agreement.

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