Western Australia’s newest wind farm has been officially opened in the Mid-West.
Energy Minister Francis Logan said the $5.2million wind farm, located 25km south of Kalbarri, was the 12th to be built in WA.
Mr Logan said the two 800kW wind turbines would improve the quality of electricity supply for Kalbarri residents and increase the capacity of the local electrical network.
He said the wind farm would produce about 5 GWh of clean, green electricity every year - about one-third of the Kalbarri community’s current demand.
It would also offset about 5,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions each year.
The Minister said the turbines were installed by Verve Energy, with funding of $1.9million from the Federal Government’s Renewable Remote Power Generation Program and support from the State Government’s Sustainable Energy Development Office.
The wind farm was another great achievement for Verve Energy and a significant renewable energy project for the State.
“Wind energy has an important role to play in addressing climate change and community expectations for green energy,” Mr Logan said.
“By utilising sustainable energy resources, WA is making a healthy contribution to the national effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
“WA now has a total of wind-generating capacity of 200MW, thanks to the great wind resource on the west and south coasts.”
Wind farms are also located at Esperance (two), Rottnest Island, Denham, Hopetoun, Bremer Bay, Coral Bay, Albany, Emu Downs near Cervantes, Exmouth and Walkaway near Geraldton.
The Minister said the Kalbarri turbines had been connected to the South West Interconnected System (SWIS) by a 136km, 33,000-volt distribution line that was already operating near its capacity limit.
This had posed significant challenges for Verve Energy that were overcome with the considerable expertise of the company’s engineers, gained from 30 years of developing wind energy technology.
“A transformer near the base of each wind turbine allows high voltage connection to the distribution lines,” Mr Logan said.
“A special piece of equipment, called a STATCOM, smoothes the voltage on the high-voltage electricity system. The result is an improved quality of electricity supply to Kalbarri.
“This type of installation could be used in similar edge-of-grid locations around Australia, where the quality of electricity supplies is an issue.”
Verve Energy managing director Shirley In’ Veld said the Kalbarri project was another feather in the company’s renewable cap.
Ms In’ Veld said that, most importantly, the project also delivered Kalbarri residents with an improved quality of electricity supply and increased capacity.
“Verve Energy has an excellent reputation for developing wind energy technology and for implementing this technology in regional towns throughout the State,” she said.
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