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Published on July 9th, 2013 | by Andrew


GE Brilliant Wind Turbines Heading Down Under As Part Of $350MM Boco Wind Farm Project

July 9th, 2013 by  

Fifty-eight GE 1.7-100 and nine 1.6-100 Brilliant wind turbines will be heading to Australia as part of a Downer EDI-GE Australia and New Zealand (ANZ) wind farm engineering and procurement contract (EPC).

In addition to generating some 113 MW of clean, renewable electricity – enough to supply at least 40,000 homes – bringing the Boco Wind Farm project to fruition will result in the avoidance of some 300,000 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions as compared to coal-fired power generation.

The GE Brilliant 1.6-100 Credit: A. Burger/Clean  TechnicaDowner EDI and GE on June 27 announced they had been awarded the EPC contract from Continental Wind Partners (CWP) to provide the 67 turbines, as well as build and maintain, the $350 million Boco Rock Wind Farm located just outside the town of Nimmitabel in New South Wales’ Snowy Mountain region. CWP has received permits that may see the wind farm expand to include 121 turbines.

Some 33 stories high with rotor blades extending 50 meters in length, the Brilliant 1.6-100 and 1.7-100 wind turbines embody the most advanced and efficient turbines GE has developed to date. The 1.7-100 ekes an additional 6% in terms of power capacity as compared to the 1.6-100, making it the most efficient wind turbine in its class, according to a GE press release.

GE has been testing a prototype of the Brilliant 1.6-100 turbine for over one year at its research center in southern California’s Tehachapi Mountains. 

“We’ve made incredible gains since acquiring the property,” Keith Longtin, general manager of Wind Products for GE Power & Water stated during a tour of the facility, pointing out that today’s GE turbines are operating at close to 98% availability, the same as a thermal coal plant.

Slated to commence in this year’s third quarter, the scope of the Downer-GE ANZ consortium’s work at the Boco Wind Farm includes construction of a 133-kilovolt (kV) transmission line and substation; balance of plant, civil, and electrical infrastructure; erection and commissioning of the wind turbine generators. Completion and commissioning is expected in Q4 2014.

The Boco Wind Farm Project In New South Wales

As per the terms of the EPC contract, GE will provide some $50 million worth of maintenance services over 10 years, as well as supplying and commissioning the Brilliant 1.7-100 and 1.6 100 turbines. Downer is to build the 132kV transmission line and substation, as well as provide plant, civil, and electrical infrastructure.

GE ANZ managing director of sales and project finance Jason Willoughby highlighted the commitment of of the variety of partners and the wide range of expertise and skills that has been required to make the Boco Wind Farm project a reality:

“The success of the project is a result of working with partners with complementary skill sets including GE, Downer EDI, CWP, EGCO, the supportive local community and the banking syndicate.”

“Our deep understanding of the wind market and our financial services expertise have enabled us to provide an innovative funding solution to bring the project through development to construction. From project finance, to technical equipment and maintenance expertise, we’ve been able to deliver a full-service solution for our partners across the lifecycle of the project.”

Wind Turbines On The Rise Across Australia

Downer EDI CEO Grant Fenn noted that the company has successfully delivered several wind farm projects across Australia, including the Collgar Wind Farm in Western Australia, the Lake Bonney Wind Farm in South Australia, the Waubra and Mt. Mercer wind farms in Victoria.

Australia has set a target of bringing 45,000 gigawatt-hours of renewable electricity generation online by 2020. New South Wales Draft Renewable Energy Action Plan for wind energy calls for adding as much as 1,085 MW of capaicty and as much as A$2.3 billion of extra capital investment,” GE ANZ noted.

GE Renewables Asia-Pacific Leader Peter Cowling stated that,

“Wind power in Australia is a proven and mature technology that can be readily deployed, and the intelligence and reliability of GE’s wind turbine technology makes it a natural fit with the requirements for long-term renewable energy supply in NSW.”

GE has been working with Boco Wind Farm project developer CWP to fund the project through its development phase since 2011. Thai-listed Electricity Generating Public Company (EGCO) is to take 100% ownership of the wind farm from Continental, which will continue as its local manager. Energy Australia is to purchase all the clean, renewable electricity the Boco Wind Farm will produce. 


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About the Author

I've been reporting and writing on a wide range of topics at the nexus of economics, technology, ecology/environment and society for some five years now. Whether in Asia-Pacific, Europe, the Americas, Africa or the Middle East, issues related to these broad topical areas pose tremendous opportunities, as well as challenges, and define the quality of our lives, as well as our relationship to the natural environment.

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