The first stage of French renewable energy company Neoen Australia’s Hornsdale wind farm near Jamestown in South Australia, is officially open and has begun generating energy into the grid.

South Australia Climate Change Minister Ian Hunter and Australian Capital Territory Deputy Chief Minister Simon Corbell officially opened the site.

South Australia is the largest producer of wind energy in Australia, and Hornsdale is an optimal wind farm site due to its access to strong wind, links to a high capacity power network that links Adelaide with the industrial north, and its relative distance from populated areas.

The electricity generated from Hornsdale will connect directly into the National Electricity Transmission Grid.

Mr Hunter said, “As we look to continue our move to a low carbon economy, we need to unlock the full potential of our state’s renewable assets and this new wind farm is an important next step in ensuring sustainable energy supply for the state’s future.”

The Hornsdale project has been funded through the ACT Government’s reverse auction process, which has been used to power the ACT Government’s commitment to 100 per cent renewable energy by 2020.

Mr Corbell said, “When complete, the wind farm will provide around 27 per cent of the ACT’s forecast 2020 electricity supply.”

The site, which stretches along 20km, has been developed by leading French renewable energy company Neoen, in partnership with Megawatt Capital Investments and infrastructure investor John Laing, after Neoen successfully bid for the ACT Government’s 20-year wind farm contract.

At maximum capacity stage one of the farm is expected to generate 100 MW which could power up to 70,000 homes.

Stage one of Hornsdale wind farm was awarded a feed-in tariff for 100MW of generation under the ACT Government’s innovative reverse auction scheme in 2015.

The ACT Government also awarded stage two of the Hornsdale project a feed-in tariff for an additional 100MW at a then-record low price of $77 per megawatt hour.

The State Government has supported the project via Investment Attraction South Australia, as well as hosting Neoen in 2012 as a potential investor and putting in place regulatory frameworks to attract renewable projects.

The deal strengthens South Australia’s position as Australia’s leading renewable energy state.

Mr Hunter said, “Since 2003, South Australia has seen $6.6 billion in renewable energy investment, with 40 per cent of this occurring in regional areas – the Hornsdale project contributes to reaching our target of $10 billion in low carbon generation by 2025 and net zero emissions by 2050.” 

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