Financing has been completed and construction will shortly begin on the $750 million / 206-megawatt Collgar development, Western Australia’s largest wind farm. The project, jointly developed by Investec Bank and Windlab, proves the value of Windlab’s world-leading wind-mapping technology which pinpointed the land as an ideal location for wind powered electricity production.
While other wind energy developers around the country, and particularly in WA, have focused on obvious coastal sites, Windlab’s proprietary WindScapeTM technology enables the company to map winds across the globe, including identifying inland sites such as Collgar, 250kms east of Perth.
“WindScapeTM takes the guesswork out of determining the most commercially viable locations and enables us to develop world class wind generation facilities like Collgar” Windlab co-founder Dr Nathan Steggel said.
“Collgar had previously been considered an area of poor wind resource but is actually one of the very best wind sites in the world,”
“It has consistently strong winds, few extreme winds, low turbulence and gentle topography all in an inland area where we can put in a large facility – this is a very rare combination.”
The WindScapeTM model was originally developed by the CSIRO and has been subsequently improved by Windlab's scientists. The confidence provided by the WindScapeTM technology has allowed for an accelerated development schedule with approval gained within 18 months of project initiation.
“The successful conclusion of this project demonstrates the skills of the development team to take opportunities generated by our technology and turn them into major infrastructure,” CEO Mark Sinclair said.
Collgar is Windlab's second successful project to be realised in a matter of months following the recent announcement of construction on the Oakland's Hill wind farm in Victoria. The company has more than 30 other projects in the pipeline, both with Investec and in its own right and expects several to be realised in the next two years.
Facts about Collgar Wind Farm
- Energy retailer Synergy has provided a 15 year off-take contract worth an estimated $1.5 bn.
- The project alone will provide over three per cent of the State's power consumption
- The project will generate and deliver up to 790,000MWh of clean, renewable electricity into the national power grid each year and power approximately 125,000 Western Australian homes.
- The reductions in greenhouse gas emissions as a result of the clean energy generated by Collgar will be equivalent to taking more 160000 cars off the road and planting more than 1.7 million trees.
- The electricity generated from each turbine will be transmitted via underground as well as above-ground cabling to a central on-site substation
- Turbine installation will commence in January 2011, and the expected initial operation will commence in August 2011