A decade after the local community rallied in the street in support of the project, the final stage of Pacific Hydro's Portland Wind Energy Project, PWEP IV, has achieved financial close.
"This is an exciting development for Pacific Hydro," said General Manager Australia, Mr Lane Crockett. "Not only will PWEP IV provide a boost to jobs locally in and around Portland, once operating, the project will provide an important contribution to clean energy generation and carbon abatement in the National Electricity Market."
Support from a consortium of domestic and international banks, including the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC), has been pivotal in enabling the project to move forward.
Pacific Hydro has recently embarked on a program of broadening its customer base and with funding in place is now bringing PWEP IV to market in support of its emerging retail energy business.
"This project will strengthen our retail business, thereby increasing competition and adding to the diversity of choice for consumers."
"While an agreement has been in place with CEFC for some time, we have now achieved financial close with the entire banking consortium," Mr Crockett said.
PWEP IV will include 23 REpower turbines with a total capacity of 47 megawatts (MW). The project is split across two sites at Cape Nelson North and Cape Sir William Grant.
Chris Judd, CEO of REpower Australia, said: "This is a significant development for our business, which highlights the opportunities in Australia through the Renewable Energy Target to invest in clean generating capacity and local jobs. We are very pleased to build on our strong relationship with Pacific Hydro to deliver the final stage of one of Australia's largest wind farms."
Once completed, the 47MW project, which is situated in an area renowned for its strong, consistent winds, is expected to generate enough clean energy to power the equivalent needs of more than 31,000 Victorian homes*, abating around 180,000 tonnes of carbon pollution^ annually.
The previous two stages of the project, at Cape Bridgewater and Cape Nelson South, were of a similar size and employed around 400 people across 50 different fields of work spread over a two year timeframe at each site. As PWEP IV is of a similar size, Pacific Hydro expects that a similar number of people would be employed during its construction and that additional flow on benefits, such as needs for transport, accommodation and other services would also follow.
During operations, Pacific Hydro expects that 10 people will be required to manage and maintain the three Portland wind farms (PWEP II, III and IV).
Once PWEP IV becomes operational, the Portland Sustainable Community Fund will increase to $140,000 every year for the operating life of the projects, bringing an additional $1million in community funding over the next 25 years and the total community funding for the Portland wind farms to around $2.8 million over the projects' operating life.
“Pacific Hydro will continue to look for opportunities to work collaboratively with the local community to build on the benefits that this last stage of the project will bring to the local community and the region.”
The 179MW Portland Wind Energy Projects includes four stages: PWEPI at Yambuk 30MW, PWEPII at Cape Bridgewater 58MW, PWEPIII at Cape Nelson South 44MW and PWEPIV at Cape Nelson North and Cape Sir William Grant 47MW.
* Based on an average residential energy consumption in Victoria of 4.8MWh
^ Based on a Victorian emissions factor of 1.19