Construction Moves Forward on Australia's Largest Wind Farm

The second stage of one of the world’s largest wind farms is moving forward after developer TagEnergy announced it had closed financing for the project.

The $2.6 billion Golden Plains Wind Farm in Australia, which when complete will have about 1.3 GW of generation capacity, will be the largest wind farm in Australia once fully operational. TagEnergy on June 18 said it had secured non-recourse funding from a global group of lenders, including the Australian government’s Clean Energy Finance Corp. (CEFC).

Vestas is the engineering, procurement, and construction leader for the project, which has its first 756-GW stage under construction. The second phase is designed to have 577 MW of capacity.

The wind farm is located near Rokewood, a small town in the Golden Plains Shire, about 37 miles northwest of Geelong. The installation is sited on land that is primarily used for agriculture, including both crops and livestock. Construction of the first phase—Golden Plains Wind Farm-East—began in early 2023. It has 122 Vestas model V162-6.2 MW wind turbines from the EnVentus platform. Vestas also will deliver a 30-year service and maintenance agreement for the project, which is expected to enter commercial operation next year.

The second phase, known as Golden Plains Wind Farm-West, will feature 93 Vestas turbines with the same generation capacity as those in phase one. It is expected to enter commercial operation in 2027.

TagEnergy is Lead Investor

TagEnergy, formed in 2019 and part of the Impala SAS group, is the majority equity investor and operator of the wind farm, which also is supported by the project’s original developer WestWind Energy, which will perform asset management for TagEnergy.

Australia’s Commonwealth and Westpac banks, Denmark’s Export & Investment Fund, Japan’s Mizuho Bank, France’s Natixis Bank, the Bank of China, and Germany’s Deutsche Bank are among the groups helping finance the project.

Construction of the first stage of the Golden Plains Wind Farm began in early 2023. It is expected to be operational in 2025. Source: Golden Plains Wind Farm

“We are now in the critical decade to reduce emissions and Australia must urgently develop the assets that will deliver more clean energy to the grid,” said CEFC CEO Ian Learmonth in discussing his group’s financial support. “Golden Plains Wind Farm will play a significant role in helping Australia reach net zero as well as replacing the energy supply that will be lost when [the 1,480-MW] Yallourn coal-fired power station retires in 2028.”

Learmonth said the CEFC used the same “bridge to contract” financing strategy that supported the first stage of Golden Plains in order to fast-track construction of phase two. “The CEFC capital will enable construction to begin before Stage 2 secures power purchase agreements, ensuring faster deployment of clean, green power to Victorian consumers,” Learmonth said.

The Golden Plains Wind Farm features Vestas wind turbines, each with 6.2 MW of generation capacity. Source: Golden Plains Wind Farm

TagEnergy CEO Franck Woitiez said of the project: “We are delighted to partner with WestWind to deliver what will be a landmark clean energy project for Victoria and Australia at a scale never seen before in the Southern Hemisphere.”

Tobias Geiger, WestWind Energy managing director, said, “We are excited to continue our work with the local community, TagEnergy and Vestas to deliver this exciting project. With an installed capacity of more than 1,300 MW, the Golden Plains Wind Farm’s 215 turbines will be capable of producing more than 4,500 GWh of energy annually, approximately 8% of Victoria’s energy demand.”

The project also will feature a 300-MW battery storage facility.

Purvin Patel, president of Vestas Asia Pacific, had said when the contract for the wind farm was awarded: “As the leading sustainable technology and service provider both globally and in Australia, we are pleased to partner with TagEnergy and through our best-in-class energy solutions while supporting their ambitious vision of sustainability through the successful delivery of Golden Plains Wind Farm Stage One.”

Power Purchase Agreements

TagEnergy in February of this year announced a second power purchase agreement (PPA) for the first stage of Golden Plains. Equinix, a global digital infrastructure group, signed a PPA to take 20% of the electricity and green energy certificates (LGCs) generated by the first stage of the project. TagEnergy said that PPA brought the total contracted volume on the first phase to 60%, after Snowy Hydro in 2023 agreed to buy 40% of the power and LGCs from Golden Plains Wind Farm-East.

Andrew Riggs, TagEnergy managing partner for Australia, said, “The significant interest in Golden Plains Wind Farm from major industry players reflects the quality and location of our project, and their confidence in our ability to deliver large-scale renewables projects.” Riggs added, “We’re proud to enter Golden Plains’ second, significant PPA with Equinix. We look forward to supporting them to meet their global 100% renewables target, as we work to drive the energy transition and ensure energy security for future generations.”

Riggs said delivery of the project has been buoyed by the government’s Capacity Investment Scheme (CIS), which is currently seeking 6 GW of new wind and solar capacity in its first major tender. “The supportive policy landscape created by the CIS has given us confidence to start construction of Golden Plains Stage 2 now,” Riggs said.

Darrell Proctor is a senior associate editor for POWER (@POWERmagazine).

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