Last month saw the commencement of Australia’s largest wind farm. Located near Rokewood in Golden Plains Shire, which sits between Geelong and Ballarat, this will generate enough energy to power 765,000 homes. This is comparable to every home in regional Victoria. This project will also prevent 4 million tonnes of carbon dioxide being released into the atmosphere each year.
The first stage consisting of 122 turbines, will commence generating energy early 2025, and when completed will generate 756MW. The second stage, still in development, is projected to generate in excess of 500MW and will be installed together with a 300MW battery. This will make a significant contribution to assisting Victoria in achieving 2030 storage targets as well as meeting Victoria’s renewable energy targets leading to net zero by 2045.
The project has gone through vast planning and numerous court challenges, with the Victorian government altering state planning to reduce ongoing legal challenges to ensure the project could proceed.
It is anticipated that 700 jobs will be created during the construction phase, with a further 72 ongoing jobs created. The original developer of the project, WestWind, has been contracted for 30 years to manage the farm and has already commenced the employment process. TagEnergy, part of the Impala SAS group, will be the majority equity investor and operator, whilst Ingka investments, part of the group that owns most IKEA stores around the world, plans to take a small stake after foreign investment review approval.
In addition to the energy related benefits, the Golden Plains Wind Farm Management Community Benefit Fund has been established to provide financial sponsorship support for a range of community-based initiatives, projects and events that benefit local communities. The objective of this fund is to provide financial support to not-for-profit community groups and organisations that are working to make a positive and lasting contribution to regional communities within and around the Golden Plains Wind Farm.1