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Wind farms win support of Australian Government

The Minister for Industry, Science and Resources, Senator Nick Minchin, today announced that he has granted Major Project Facilitation Status to Pacific Hydro Limited for its proposed Portland Wind Commercialisation Project in the Portland district of south west Victoria.

The proposed Project consists of a staged development during 2001-2002 of four wind farms in the Portland district on the south west coast of Victoria. The Project involves total investment of AUD$230-$250 million and will have initial generation capacity totalling 140-150 MW using over 100 wind driven turbines.

"The annual production of electricity from this Project is estimated in excess of 500 GWhs which represents an abatement of more than 500,000 tonnes of CO2 per annum. This represents around 5% of Australia's 9,500 GWh target for renewables".

Following Pacific Hydro's referral to Environment Australia, the project has been determined as being a controlled action under the provisions of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 by the Minister for the Environment and Heritage, Senator the Hon. Robert Hill.

The Australian industry participation for the Project is envisaged to be in excess of 90% potentially creating up to 500 indirect manufacturing jobs. This project should give a new and emerging manufacturing industry a significant kick start through orders from this major project.

Discussions have been held with Alcoa (Portland Aluminium), SECV, Melbourne City Council, Ford, AGL, Powercor Australia and the Victorian Government, who have all indicated a willingness to purchase renewable energy from the project.

"Substantial economic growth may result in the region as a result of this project and the emerging renewable energy market", said Senator Minchin.

"The Project may also assist in the development of a major wind farm components manufacturing supply industry in Australia with significant Asian export potential. Australia is already technologically among the world leaders in the manufacture of small scale wind turbines".

Under Major Project Facilitation Status, the proponents of the wind farm plant will benefit from a streamlined decision-making process for necessary government approvals.

Sourced by Australian High Commission, Wellington

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