Global wind energy leader Vestas has acquired the Winterbourne Wind Farm from Walcha Energy (a partnership between MirusWind and Energy Estate), the wind aspect and first stage of a larger energy project.
The Walcha Energy Project is a wind, solar and pumped hydro energy storage project of up to 4GW in total, situated around the town of Walcha in the New England tablelands, approximately 55km south of Armidale, NSW.
The Vestas investment in Winterbourne Wind Farm, which has a potential capacity of up to 700MW, will accelerate development of the Winterbourne Wind Farm and will help unlock the considerable renewable energy potential of the wider New England region.
Principal of Energy Estate Vincent Dwyer said, “Vestas’ acquisition of Winterbourne is a giant step forward for The Walcha Energy Project and evidences strong support and respect for the local Walcha community.
“We are fortunate to be working with Vestas as the world’s leading wind OEM to unlock the clean energy potential of Walcha, to foster responsible develop in the REZ and to enable new economic development opportunities in regional NSW in collaboration with the local community.”
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Director at Walcha Energy Mark Waring said, a key feature of The Walcha Energy Project is the unique community benefit model, including an ownership interest in the Winterbourne Wind Farm.
“We’ve been engaging with the Walcha community for more than 14 years and continued engagement, benefit sharing and responsible development are core values for our team,” he said.
“Vestas is perfectly aligned with these core values and to this commitment.”
The development team has worked closely with the surrounding community and designed innovative arrangements that seek to balance the interests of the key landholders, their neighbours, the community and other stakeholders.
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The next stage of the development of the Winterbourne Wind Farm will focus on preparation of an environmental impact assessment to support a development application in 2020.
Subject to obtaining the necessary approvals, the wind farm is planned to commence operations in 2022.
Walcha Energy has also announced it has lodged the scoping report for the
Salisbury Solar Farm, a 700MW solar farm to be located on the Salisbury Plains south east of Uralla, with the NSW Department of Planning & Environment. The scoping report also includes a 100MW/150MWh battery energy storage system, a new 330kV substation which will operate as a new grid ‘hub’ supporting the development of the New England Renewable Energy Zone (the Uralla RE Hub), and associated transmission infrastructure.