Coonooer Bridge Wind Farm to provide clean, green wind energy to Canberra for the next 20 years

Windlab Limited (Windlab) today announced the award of a 20 year Feed- In-Tariff (FiT) for Coonooer Bridge Wind Farm (CBWF) with the ACT Government. The FiT has been awarded in response to the ACT’s Large Scale Wind Auction, a part of the Territory’s innovative and forward looking strategy to combat climate change.  This strategy includes the territory sourcing 90% of its electricity needs from renewable sources by 2020.  

Under the Large Scale Wind Auction process the ACT Government has selected 200MW of wind energy capacity from three projects. These three projects will meet around a third of the ACT’s 2020 electricity needs at a competitive price fixed for the next 20 years.

CBWF is a six turbine wind farm located near the town of Coonooer Bridge, northwest of Bendigo.  The project is owned by Windlab and the local community.  The project was approved by the Buloke Shire council in 2013 and when operational will supply enough electricity through the national electricity grid to power over 14,000 Canberra homes.

Windlab Chief Executive, Roger Price said “we are delighted to be successful.  Windlab is an Australian business with more than half of its global employees based in Canberra.  Yet over the last four years despite significant local investment, we have generated very little revenue in Australia, thanks to Federal Government inaction and deliberate nobbling of the renewable energy industry. Our business has only survived due our ability to successfully generate export revenue. I find it frustrating to keep hearing phrases from the Federal Government like “supporting small business” and “creating sunrise industries” when their actions are clearly inconsistent.  If they are genuine they need to support a substantial and ambitious renewable energy target.”  

He continued “In contrast, the ACT Government’s climate change strategy demonstrates all the benefits of good progressive policy.  It takes strong action to reduce the Territory’s carbon footprint; it supports investment, innovation and the creation of high skilled jobs in the Territory; and it locks in competitive energy supply for the next 20 years through a Feed in Tariff or FiT.” 

The FiT will allow Windlab to continue to invest in the development of the local ACT renewable energy industry, education and community.  Under the FiT Entitlement Windlab will continue to build its global operations hub in Canberra to provide asset management services for CBWF and other projects; expand its “renewables in schools” education initiative; work with the ANU to develop a Master’s unit in Wind Energy; and employ additional university interns in the WindscapeTM Institute to support the company’s ongoing international expansion.

Leigh Watts, a Coonooer Bridge community member, CBWF shareholder and board representative commented, “It is great news that the ACT’s climate and energy policy will allow our wind farm to be built.  It is really a pity that the Federal Government’s inaction on the renewable energy industry in Australia is preventing many other rural communities from benefiting from this type of drought proofing, regional development and investment.  We applaud the ACT Government for its crucial leadership in this matter.”

Coonooer Bridge Wind Farm will commence construction in the first half of 2015 and will be operational early in 2016.