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Canberra economy wins with wind!

The Canberra economy is again the winner, with more than $100 million dollars in economic benefits flowing from the final successful proponent of the ACT Government’s second wind auction, Minister for the Environment and Climate Change Simon Corbell announced today.

Sapphire Wind Farm in northern New South Wales, to be developed by CWP Renewables, is the fifth successful wind energy project from the ACT’s two reverse auctions for wind energy. It will power local homes and boost the economy through jobs and research growth.

“I am delighted to announce Sapphire Wind Farm as the second winning project in the ACT’s second wind auction. CWP has a strong track record developing projects, including in our region, which have enjoyed strong local community support.” Mr Corbell said.

“Sapphire has been awarded a feed-in-tariff of $89.10 per MW/h for 100MW capacity. This project will power 48,600 Canberra homes, providing a clean, sustainable energy alternative to gas and coal-fired power generation.

“Today’s announcement is about more than renewable energy generation, it is about powering new high-growth industries to diversify our economy and create the jobs of the future. As part of the successful bid the ACT Government has secured tremendous local investment benefits, totalling $100 million over 20 years, which will benefit all Canberrans.

“The company will relocate their asset management operations from Newcastle to the ACT, investing $34 million in the development of an ACT-based asset and operations management centre for their growing national and international generation fleet. CWP will be the third wind developer and asset manager to base their operations here in Canberra making our city a major hub for wind energy innovation and investment.

“CWP Renewables will invest $3 million in a world-leading zero carbon micro-grid to be developed at CIT Bruce. This forms part of a $33 million investment in local micro-grid initiatives with strong trades training and research integration. CWP also will invest $35 million to develop an Asia-Pacific micro-grid export hub in the ACT.

“In a win for local companies, the developers will give preference to ACT based businesses when awarding contracts for the construction of the wind farm – worth at least $5 million.”

Mr Alex Hewitt, Managing Director CWP Renewables, said his company was delighted to have been successful in winning the ACT wind auction.

“The ACT purchase of renewable energy from Sapphire Wind Farm has allowed us to commence construction of what will be the largest wind farm in the NSW,” Mr Hewitt said.

“Construction of the 260MW Sapphire Wind Farm will generate local jobs and investment both in the ACT and in the New England region of NSW. We are looking forward to centralising our asset management team in Canberra to manage wind and solar farms across Australia and Asia. Our ACT investment package includes new partnerships with learning institutions and smart technology providers, and an investment opportunity offer to the community.”

Mr Corbell said that by the time Sapphire starts producing energy in April 2018, the ACT will be sourcing 80% of its energy needs from renewable sources and well on the way to achieving 90% by 2020.

“The ACT’s pioneering reverse auction process ensures that Canberrans pay low prices for electricity while receiving maximum local investment benefits. Both Wind Auction II winners have delivered on these fronts.” Mr Corbell said.

The total costs to consumers associated with all current and proposed large-scale renewable energy projects will peak at $4.67 per household per week, on average, in 2020.

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