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King Island to house Australias biggest wind farm


Hydro Tasmania has announced plans to install a 600MW wind farm on King Island. The island is located in the Bass Strait between the Australian mainland and Tasmania.

The wind farm, to be named TasWind would consist of 200 3MW turbines, and would overtake the 420MW Macarthur Wind Farm with its 140 3MW turbines. The wind farm aims to capitalize on the Roaring Forties, a huge wind resource that travels across the Indian Ocean to land on the south-west corner of Western Australia, the area around Adelaide in South Australia, the southern regions of Victoria and hurtles through the Bass Strait. Hydro Tasmania already has assets on the island as part of the Currie Power Station which includes solar and diesel generation, and incorporates the 2.5MW Huxley Hill Wind Farm.

With a price tag of $2 billion, the project is currently in the pre-feasibility stages and the company is engaging in community consultation. The project should begin construction in 2017 and be completed in two years in time to take advantage of the end of the 2020 Renewable Energy Target(RET). This will ensure Hydro Tasmania can recoup some of the outlay through Large-scale Renewable Energy Certificates (LRECs). If completed to plan the wind farm will produce 2.4GWh of power and equate to 5% of the RET.

Key to the success of the wind farm is its ability to export its generation into the NEM. This would either require it to tap into the Basslink interconnector that connects Tasmania to the eastern states and South Australia, or construct a new connection directly from the wind farm. A press release issued on the 27th of November indicates the latter, “the renewable energy produced would be transmitted into the National Electricity Market via a high-voltage direct current underwater cable across Bass Strait, with a landing point in Victoria.”

In the current climate of dubious and plainly spurious claims of the apocalyptic affects of wind turbine, many companies may have considered a project such as this to be too difficult to undertake. Hydro Tasmania should be applauded for their steadfast determination.