Origin Invests in Wind Farms in NSW

Origin Energy has entered into a strategic relationship with wind generation developers Epuron acquiring an option to develop up to 590MW of wind farm projects starting with the construction of the 30MW Cullerin Range wind farm in NSW, 30km west of Goulburn.

The Cullerin wind farm project has an extremely good wind resource and is one of the most competitive projects of its kind in Australia with a capacity factor of 44 per cent and proximity to electricity transmission infrastructure. Origin expects to start the commissioning of the wind farm in 2009.

When fully operational, Cullerin Range will save about 100,000 tonnes of carbon annually or provide enough renewable electricity to power almost 15,000 typical homes in NSW.

The Cullerin Range wind farm is one of three permitted sites in NSW, including Conroy's Gap (30MW) and Snowy Plains (30MW), where Origin has also acquired the rights to develop these projects.

In addition, Origin has entered into a Strategic Relationship Agreement with an option for another 500MW of Epuron sites.

Origin Chief Operating Officer Karen Moses said: "Origin now has the option over a strategic and economically competitive pipeline of wind projects, which Epuron has identified, mainly in NSW."

"Origin was one of Australia's early contractors of wind projects, helping underwrite wind farms at Codrington and Challicum Hills. We currently contract approximately 180MW of wind."

"The Epuron deal will see Origin build its own wind facilities for the first time, deepening integration in this area," she said. "It is also Origin's first generation investment in NSW."

"It provides Origin with greater flexibility in managing our carbon, retail and generation portfolios."

"In addition to meeting the regulatory requirements for renewable energy, today's announcement supports Origin's 270,000 customers who choose to buy green electricity."

"Origin is well placed to make a significant contribution to helping reduce the carbon intensity of the Australian economy and the Federal Government meet its 20% renewables target by 2020," Ms Moses said.

She said the acquisition complements our other recent investments and initiatives in the renewable sector. These included:

  • Origin's joint venture with Geodynamics in geothermal energy development in Australia;
  • The research and development of SLIVER solar cell technology;
  • New Zealand's Contact Energy, which is 51.4 per cent owed by Origin, is looking at $2 billion of potential investment in wind and geothermal projects over the next five years;
  • Origin's position as Australia¡¦s largest installer of solar rooftop systems;
  • The development of Origin's Carbon Reduction Scheme and other offset products; and
  • Origin's position as Australia's leading green energy retailer.

"We are pleased to see these projects, and Cullerin in particular, move closer to construction," said Martin Poole, Executive Director of Epuron. "It is now recognised that NSW has an excellent wind resource and in light of the Federal Government's 20% renewables policy we expect to see significant activity in the wind industry over the next few years."

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