Big boost for energy capacity

TASMANIA'S biggest wind farm at Musselroe was officially opened yesterday more than two years after the $394 million project started.

The 168 megawatt wind farm generates enough power to supply 50,000 homes - equivalent to the residential power needs for Burnie and Devonport - and will prevent 450,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide from power generation being released into the air.

Construction on the wind farm, consisting of 56 wind turbines, started in December 2011 and employed about 200 people at its peak.

In an arrangement similar to the Woolnorth wind farm in the North-West, Chinese company Shenhua Clean Energy has a 75 per cent share in the farm while Hydro Tasmania retains the remainder.

Hydro entity Woolnorth Wind Farm Holdings has management responsibilities over the farm for its operational life of 25 years.

Hydro Tasmania chairman David Crean said the company's involvement in wind energy generation, with two other wind farms in the North-West, had added considerable value to its generation portfolio.

``It also complements perfectly our hydro capability, providing the renewable energy certificates to meet our retail obligations and generating profit and revenue for our shareholders, the people of Tasmania,'' he said.

Premier Lara Giddings said much of the power generated from the windfarm would be sold over Basslink to generate revenue to be used to deliver essential services like health and education.

Clean Energy Council chief executive David Green said the project would not have been possible without the Renewable Energy Target.

The scheme was set up by the Howard government in 2001 to have 20 per cent of Australia's electricity come from renewable sources by 2020. Mr Green said the scheme had generated $18 billion of investment across the country - from solar panel installation in more than two million homes to large-scale projects like Musselroe. A review of the target by the federal government is scheduled later this year.

Premier Lara Giddings said Prime Minister Tony Abbott was preparing to axe or dramatically alter the scheme.

``We want to see more renewable energy projects like Musselroe realised in Tasmania, including a second Basslink, but future investment will be dead in the water if the Coalition scraps the RET,'' she said.

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