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Neoen says Australian wind farm hits full tilt, two years behind plan

·1 min read

By Sonali Paul

MELBOURNE, Dec 29 (Reuters) - Neoen SA said its Bulgana wind farm and battery project in Australia has finally been fully switched on two years behind schedule, after overcoming problems hooking up to a grid with limited capacity for an influx of renewable energy.

The A$350 million ($253 million) project comprises a 204 megawatt wind farm in the village of Bulgana in Victoria, which first started operating at limited capacity in 2020, and a connected 20 MW battery, which was switched on in July.

When construction began in 2018, the target date for completing the project was August 2019.

"Connecting our Bulgana Power Hub to the grid was a long and challenging process, but we are proud of having overcome it thanks to the team's dedication," Neoen Australia's Managing director Louis de Sambucy said in a statement.

The project is being supported by a 15-year agreement with the Victoria state government to help the state reach a legislated target to get 50% of its power from renewables by 2030 - up from 32% in 2021.

Part of the government's support included paying for 10% of the power from the project to supply a vegetable producer, Nectar Farms, which was going to build a 30-hectare glasshouse operation near the wind farm.

However Nectar Farms went into liquidation in April following delays brought on by the coronavirus pandemic. So now all of the power from the Bulgana project will go into the National Electricity Market.

Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy designed and built the Bulgana project and Tesla Inc supplied the big battery. ($1 = 1.3833 Australian dollars) (Reporting by Sonali Paul; Editing by Raju Gopalakrishnan)