Australia - CLP joins Tasmania in wind farm venture

Investments in wind energy generation in Australia and Asia

Hydro Tasmania, the largest Australian hydroelectric power producer, said Thursday that it had agreed to form a partnership with CLP Holdings, the biggest electricity supplier in Hong Kong, to invest in wind energy generation in Australia and Asia. CLP Power Asia will invest more than 110 million Australian dollars, or $85 million, for a 50 percent stake in Hydro Tasmania's Roaring 40s Renewable Energy unit, Hydro Tasmania said. Roaring 40s owns two wind farms in Australia and is developing others in Australia, New Zealand and China. Hydro Tasmania, based in Hobart and owned by the Tasmanian state government, has been seeking a partner to help build wind energy generators and capitalize on demand for renewable energy. CLP is expanding abroad as earnings growth slows in its home market. It has invested in two wind farms in Shandong Province, China. "With these projects, CLP is taking big strides in realizing our target of establishing 5 percent of the group's total power generation capacity from renewable energy by 2010," Richard McIndoe, managing director of CLP Power Asia, said in a separate statement. "Roaring 40s will provide a great platform for the development of renewable energy projects in Australia and Asia."

The venture initially will focus on developing the 75-megawatt Studland Bay wind project and the 129-megawatt Musselroe project, both in Tasmania, Hydro Tasmania's chairman, David Crean, said. "Hydro Tasmania does not have the capacity to take on more debt on its balance sheet, nor the cash flow to pursue wind farm developments on its own," Crean said. Roaring 40s owns a 65-megawatt wind farm at Woolnorth, northwestern Tasmania, and 50 percent of the 66-megawatt Cathedral Rocks wind farm in South Australia state, where its partner is EHN Group of Spain. In May, Hydro Tasmania signed an agreement with China Datang Group to study opportunities to develop renewable energy projects in China, including a potential 50-megawatt wind farm in Jilin Province.

CLP this year acquired some of Singapore Power's Australian energy assets for 2.13 billion dollars. It combined the business with its Yallourn power plant in Victoria state and renamed it TRUenergy. The interest in Roaring 40s is not part of TRUenergy, said Carl Kitchen, a TRUenergy spokesman. Hydro Tasmania, the trading name of Hydro-Electric Corp., has been investing in wind generation to complement its hydropower and gas-fired plants. It will be able to export some power to Victoria state when National Grid Transco starts up a 780 million-dollar underwater cable, Basslink, connecting the island to the mainland, scheduled for the end of April.

Online editorial, www.windfair.net
Edited by Trevor Sievert, Online Editorial Journalist
India, wind energy, wind power, wind farm, wind turbine, renewable energy, offshore, onshore

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