The first of 56 turbines that will make up the nearly 200MW wind power component of Neoen's Bulgana Green Power Hub is being installed, marking a new milestone for the ground-breaking hybrid renewables and battery storage project in Victoria.
The project, which broke ground at the site of an old gold mine in Stawell in May last year, will deliver 100 per cent renewable energy to what will be the country's biggest vegetable glasshouse, owned by Nectar Farms.
In a statement on Wednesday, the Australian branch of French renewables developer Neoen said the first wind turbine was on the way up, while construction across the wider site continued to build momentum.
'The integrated wind and battery storage facility continues to create hundreds of local jobs and is well on its way to meeting the targeted delivery date of August 2019,' said Neon Australia managing director Franck Woitiez.
'Upon completion, the $A350 million facility will generate over 740,000MWh of emission-free, clean, competitive renewable energy per annum for the Stawell region and wider Victoria.'
The progress on the project comes as the federal government gathers expressions of interest its plan to underwrite new 'dispatchable' power generation for the Australian grid – an exercise that has attracted proposals from both coal and gas proponents, as well as developers of firmed renewable projects, like Bulgana.
In comments to RE back in May of 2018, Neoen's Woitiez said that project's like the Green Power Hub served to demonstrate that the clean energy transition was well underway, and that coal was 'a thing of the past.'
Woitiez has also praised the role of the Victorian government in the project as 'critical,' considering Nectar Farms was mulling plans to take its greenhouse project offshore, due to the high cost of electricity and gas in Victoria.
As Giles Parkinson reported, the company was convinced to stay on Australian soil after intervention from the Andrews Labor government, and after being convinced of the overwhelming economics of electrifying the greenhouse energy supply and using wind and battery storage.
Victoria helped further by signing a 15-year power purchase agreement for some of the output of the 194MW wind farm that will be built on site, and which will provide all the power to the greenhouse, as well as exporting to the grid.
The hydroponic greenhouse will take around 15 per cent of the output of the wind farm, and its needs will be backed up by a 20MW/34MWh Tesla battery storage facility.
Sophie is editor of One Step Off The Grid
and deputy editor of its sister site, Renew Economy
. Sophie has been writing about clean energy for more than a decade.