Small Exmouth wind farm planned

A small wind farm planned for Exmouth will generate enough power for around 30 houses and save around 50,000 litres of fuel that would have otherwise been used in the local power station.

Announcing the project, WA Energy Minister Eric Ripper said the mini-wind farm, located in Yardi Creek Road and owned and operated by Western Power, was built to produce clean green electricity.

"The Exmouth mini-wind farm will generate enough electricity to power 30 average homes and is expected to reduce greenhouse emissions by up to 150 tonnes per year," Mr Ripper said.

He said the wind farm consisted of three 20kilowatt wind turbines and had been built by WA company Westwind Turbines. It had been specially designed by the Australian Co-operative Research Centre for Renewable Energy to cope with the cyclone prone region.

"As a cyclone approaches, the three wind turbines are lowered to the ground until weather conditions improve and they can be raised to resume operations," the Minister said.

The mini-wind farm consists of three turbines on 30m towers, each carrying three 5m blades. They produce a total of 170megawatt hours (MWh) of electricity each year (enough for 30 average homes).

The Minister said the State Government was keen to see Western Australia become a national leader in renewable energy generation, and that the current push for State electricity reform was a step towards achieving this.

"Renewable energy and energy conservation are two important areas in the proposed reform of the energy market," he said.

"The Electricity Reform Task Force is looking at options for this energy source in its overall consideration of market reform."

"This project has generated a lot of interest, particularly in other parts of regional Australia," Mr Ripper said.

"The technology can be used in small communities in regional WA, Australia and possibly overseas to reduce fuel oil used in power stations."

The Minister said other advantages and opportunities would flow from this project.

"It will demonstrate the advantages of integrating wind power technology into existing diesel grid systems as well as assist the commercialisation of new turbines and associated Australian-made equipment," he said.

The Exmouth mini-wind farm is a joint project involving Western Power, Westwind Turbines, the Australian Greenhouse Office and the Australian Co-operative Research Centre for Renewable Energy (ACRE).

As well as Exmouth, Western Power also has wind farms in Albany, Esperance and Denham.

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