Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change, the Honorable Lily D’Ambrosio MP was at the site of the Winlab Kiata Wind Farm at Kiata last Wednesday for the official opening on nine of the largest wind turbines in Victoria.
Around 50 dignitaries, guest, employees and media attended the opening on a warm Wimmera morning.
Among the guest were Hindmarsh Shire Council Mayor Cr Ron Ismay, Cr Debra Nelson and CEO Greg Woods.
Windlab was the Victorian state government’s first successful tenderer for the Renewable Energy Certificate Scheme (REC) to build the Kiata Wind Farm.
The $77 million project, supported 100 construction jobs and three ongoing jobs in the region.
Kiata’s nine turbine towers were made by Australia’s largest wind tower manufacturer Keppel Prince. It is one of four large-scale, renewable energy generators for Victoria — the others being the 132MW Mount Gellibrand wind farms and the 100MW Bannerton Solar Park and 38MW Numurkah Solar Farm and of course the Murra Warra project, yet to be started.
The official proceedings opened with Kiata Wind Farm Manager Rob Fisher who welcomed those in attendance. He proceeded to inform the guests that the wind turbines at Kiata are the largest in VIctoria and each turbine can produce energy even on a hot day.
John Laing who is a major investor in the project then spoke on how the project was able to proceed with the help of the Victorian Government renewable energy project.
“I thank you minister for your commitment to renewable energy projects in Victoria. The innovation of the Victorian government, with LCT and REC programs has put Victoria ahead of the other states, and has made investments in this project viable,” said Mr Lainge.
They are using the latest in technology that puts the Kiata Wind Farm ahead of the rest of the industry until they build a bigger turbine which is only a matter of months away.
District Elder, Uncle Ron Marks was invited to perform a “Welcome to Country’.
Cr Ron Ismay then spoke about the rapid rate of advances in technology and how Hindmarsh is at the forefront with the new Wind Farm.
The Minister, Lily D’Ambrosio MP was invited to address the audience and officially open the Wind Farm.
The minister said, “Kiata Wind Farm was the first contract awarded by the Victorian government under the Renewable Energy Certificates program.”
“The 30 Megawatt wind farm will produce enough electricity to power 20,000 homes, although the energy produced by the turbines will be sold back to the Victorian State Government in the form of a REC,” she said.
“The electricity will be used to run the metropolitan tram network,” said the minister.
The project recently achieved full commercial operation, following a successful phase of commissioning and performance testing during November and December 2017. Even though under commission conditions during this period, Kiata was among the best performing wind farms, measured by capacity factor, operating across the National Electricity Market.”
“We’ve backed the Kiata wind farm every step of the way – because we’re making Victoria the national leader in renewable energy to drive down energy prices, create jobs and reduce emissions,” she said.
The community is set to gain from the windfarm with Kiata Wind Farms community grant projects with $20,000 that will go towards community projects annually. The farmers and landowners affected by the farm will receive dividends from the power generated while still having access to their land. There will be 20 families living near the Kiata Wind Farm that would receive payments.
Hindmarsh Shire Council will also receive dividends that will be used on council projects.
Cr Debra Nelson told the Banner that the money the wind farm will generate will enable the council to make footpaths and fix roads.