GREEN DEALS: Large, larger, largest

As work begins on the world’s largest solar farm, there remains optimism Australia will see a new record in wind in King Island. Elsewhere, our biggest wind farm meets noise guidelines and Infigen gets a local revenue lift.

King Island wind farm, Hydro Tasmania

Hydro Tasmania is edging toward decision time for a feasibility study on a 600MW, 200 turbine wind farm plan for King Island. If it were to proceed it would be the largest wind farm in the Southern Hemisphere.

The state-owned group is confident it can secure the funding for the $2 billion development, with the main doubts resting with the overall viewpoint of the community.

A survey will be conducted in June to discover where exactly the 1600-strong community stands and if it comes out showing greater than 60 per cent support, then millions will be ploughed into a feasibility study, according to The Mercury.

From all reports, it's on a knife-edge.

Infigen Energy

Infigen Energy’s third quarter results paint a contrasting tale for the performance of its wind farms in Australia compared to the US.

Overall, the ASX-listed renewable energy firm saw production fall 7 per cent compared to the same quarter last year, while revenue was flat.

But while production slumped 10 per cent on weaker wind conditions in the US, it was steady in Australia.

This reflected “better wind conditions across its sites in New South Wales and Western Australia offset by weaker wind conditions at Lake Bonney in South Australia,” the company said.

Meanwhile, higher prices saw revenue surge 10 per cent in Australia, offsetting the 9 per cent fall in the US.

Lal Lal wind farm

West Wind Energy’s Lal Lal wind farm has taken a big step forward, with the groundwork underway to ready the site for turbine installation next year, according to The Courier.

The 150 MW project 25km south-east of Ballarat in Victoria is likely to be fully operational in 2015.

“Hopefully, next summer ... we will be building a concrete slab for maintenance and building foundations for the wind turbines,” WestWind Energy managing director, Tobi Geiger, said.

All up, 64 turbines are expected to be installed.

Macarthur wind farm

An independent AECOM study of Australia’s biggest operating wind farm, the 420MW Macarthur in Victoria’s south-west, has found it is operating within noise limits.

“We appreciate some community members have been concerned about wind farm noise levels so we wanted to make sure it was operating correctly from the start and give the community a greater level of comfort,” AGL’s Group General Manager Power Development, Scott Thomas, said.

“Over 40,000 hours of noise monitoring has been conducted at Macarthur, which is well beyond the amount of noise monitoring required in the Planning Permit.” 

World’s largest solar farm

MidAmerican Solar and SunPower have started “major construction” of the world’s biggest solar development.

The 579-megawatt Antelope Valley Solar Projects will take almost three years to build and, when complete, will provide enough energy to power approximately 400,000 Californian homes.

The Antelope Valley Solar Projects are owned by MidAmerican Solar. SunPower designed and developed the projects and is the engineering, procurement and construction contractor.

It will be complete by the end of 2015.