Coonooer Bridge Begins Generating Cheapest Wind Energy In Australia

Sign up for daily news updates from CleanTechnica on email. Or follow us on Google News!

Originally published on RenewEconomy.
by Sophie Vorrath

Victoria’s Coonooer Bridge wind farm has begun producing what is assumed to be the cheapest wind energy in Australia, after the project became the first from the ACT government’s hugely successful wind auction to generate power.

The milestone was announced by ACT environment minister Simon Corbell on Wednesday, who said the wind farm was currently exporting 6 MW of energy, with full generation of 20 MW expected later this month.

Capital_Turbines“Coonooer Bridge becoming operational is an important milestone in the ACT Government’s commitment to 90 per cent renewable energy for the ACT,” Mr Corbell said.

“The energy being produced at Coonooer bridge is the cheapest wind energy in Australia and will be supplying Canberra homes for 20 years.

“By 2018 we will be sourcing over 80 per cent of our energy needs from renewable sources, making us the sustainable energy Capital of Australia.

“In another win for the ACT, the wind farm developer, and part-owner, is a locally grown business, Windlab Limited,” Mr Corbell said.

Windlab, a Canberra-based spin-off from the CSIRO’s wind research unit, said last November that while Coonooer Bridge was a relatively small project, with only six turbines, it would tap one of the best wind resources in Australia at its location near Bendigo.

Coonooer Bridge will receive a tariff of $81.50/MWh from the ACT. Not only is this believed to be the lowest contracted price in Australia (although most contracts are private) it will remain fixed for 20 years, with no indexing for inflation. That equates to a current price of around $65/MWh, according to some estimates.

“The project is expected to generate enough renewable energy to power over 14,000 homes and reduce carbon emissions by over 80,000 tonnes per annum,” said Windlab project manager Matthew Parton.

Parton also praised the ACT’s renewable energy policy – and specifically its large-scale renewable auctions – for achieving it’s objectives and for helping the company to grow.

“The ACT wind auctions are a fantastic climate change policy response that has resulted in additional installed capacity on top of that required by the federal government’s Renewable Energy Target (RET),” he said.

“Success in this auction, including with Coonooer Bridge wind farm, and as the project manager of the Ararat wind farm [another project aided by the ACT’s RET scheme], has allowed Windlab to expand its staff and add construction and operation management to the services it supplies to project owners.”

Windlab is managing the project from its global asset management centre in Canberra, and estimates its injection to the local ACT economy to be $240 million over the next 20 years of operation.

There are currently a further three wind farms under development which will power Canberra homes with sustainable energy, with further announcements anticipated in the near future.


Have a tip for CleanTechnica? Want to advertise? Want to suggest a guest for our CleanTech Talk podcast? Contact us here.

Our Latest EVObsession Video

I don't like paywalls. You don't like paywalls. Who likes paywalls? Here at CleanTechnica, we implemented a limited paywall for a while, but it always felt wrong — and it was always tough to decide what we should put behind there. In theory, your most exclusive and best content goes behind a paywall. But then fewer people read it!! So, we've decided to completely nix paywalls here at CleanTechnica. But...
Like other media companies, we need reader support! If you support us, please chip in a bit monthly to help our team write, edit, and publish 15 cleantech stories a day!
Thank you!

CleanTechnica uses affiliate links. See our policy here.

Guest Contributor

We publish a number of guest posts from experts in a large variety of fields. This is our contributor account for those special people, organizations, agencies, and companies.

Guest Contributor has 4314 posts and counting. See all posts by Guest Contributor

10 thoughts on “Coonooer Bridge Begins Generating Cheapest Wind Energy In Australia

  • The $81.5 dollarydoos per megawatt-hour figure for the 20 year Power Purchase Agreement comes to $59 US dollars a megawatt-hour or 5.9 US cents a kilowatt-hour. Power Purchase Agreements in the United States generally are not adjusted for inflation and neither is this one. However, because inflation is expected to be higher in Australia than the United States it actually works out to be a little cheaper than it seems if one wants to compare it to US Power Purchase Agreements.

    • Ah. Thank you. That was far from obvious to me.

  • I will mention that the Coonooer bridge wind farm is about 500 kilometers from Canberra, which they are, in an accounting sense, meant to power. Around 725 kilometers by road. The reason they were built there instead of near Canberra is because it’s cheaper. And the electricity isn’t being piped by a special transmission line to Canberra, it’s just going into the nearest convenient transmission capacity, as with any wind farm. And that’s fine. The state of Victoria has one of, if not the most, CO2 intensive grids in the world and any reduction in their fossil fuel use resulting from wind power means less friendly Victorian global warming death for the planet, and less local death from things such as mercury toxins.

    • “…the Coonooer bridge wind farm is about 500 kilometers from Canberra….”

      That’s roughly 300 miles, for those of us who don’t think in metric.

    • But I’m glad kilometres are being used in the article. Americans need more reinforcement in the use of SI units. Thank you for not dumbing down the article for us Yanks.

  • Please, PLEASE indicate that the prices are in AUSTRALIAN dollars, not US.
    From the context and knowing typical pricing one can guess this is the case, but prices are not always reported in local currency.

    • The standard convention is to use the symbol A$. If there is any risk of confusion with American dollars, you can always write USD. The problem I have is more with cents, whether American, Australian or Euro. This matters because electricity prices are often given in cents per kWh. As in 5$c US, 5A$c, 5€c. Unhandy.

      I still can’t get my head round the lakhs and crores in posts by the Indian contributors to this blog. I should, because we need terms for large numbers.

      • I have no problem with unit A$ or such, it’s just that the text above simply had “Coonooer Bridge will receive a tariff of $81.50/MWh” with no qualifier.

        But I agree in that situation is even worse with cents.

      • … that is, as far as I can infer from text and other comments, these amounts ARE in Australian dollars, not us ones. So using plain old “$” would suggest they would be USDs, which is apparently not the case. If the numbers are indeed in US dollars, then it’s my mistake.

  • 80% by 2018 is the kind of properly ambitious goal that gets people up in the morning.

    And it will probably turn out to be quite do-able.

Comments are closed.