Local residents in the New England area may have the opportunity to invest in the Sapphire Wind Farm being developed by CWP Renewables.
Community Project Officer Sandy McNaughton showcased the plan during an Inverell Shire Council meeting on Wednesday, local media reported.
McNaughton has invited interested locals – and councillors – to attend a number of Community Investment Discovery Sessions to be held in Inverell, Wellingrove, Moree and Glen Innes early next month.
While large-scale renewable energy projects are common in Europe, the initiative would be the first opportunity of its kind in Australia. But it will only be implemented if the community shows enough interest.
Sapphire is currently under construction and the 270MW development will be the largest wind farm in NSW when completed, comprising 75 turbines. Its construction was made viable by the ACT’s wind auction, and the developers have a 20 year power purchase agreement in place for 100MW of the project’s capacity.
It will power 115,000 homes and displace 700,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide, while bringing economic benefits to the local NSW New England region and the ACT.
Meanwhile, the foundations for the first of 53 turbine towers has been installed at the $360 million Mt Emerald Wind Farm in Far North Queensland.
The foundation for the tower comprises a 50 tonne reinforced stell cage filled with around 350 cubic metric tonnes of concrete – or around 70 truckloads.
Each turbine has a capacity of 3MW, given the total project a capacity of 180 MW to be connected to the grid.
Mt Emerald, which is being developed by Ratch Australia, will be operational by September 2018.