KIATA’s new wind farm had its groundbreaking ceremony on Tuesday, marking the start of construction at the $75 million, 12- turbine facility.
Though smaller than some existing and future wind farm projects in the Wimmera, the Kiata Wind Farm aims to power the equivalent of 20,000 homes.
The new wind farm will be located three kilometres outside the Kiata township and about 60 kilometres north-west of Horsham.
HIndmarsh mayor Debra Nelson joined with Canberra-based windfarm operator Windlab Limited and the project’s landowners to turn the first sod.
Cr Nelson said it was a fantastic project and the community had worked well together to make it happen.
“Windlab have worked brilliantly in engaging the community, coming and having a deputation with council and working with the community from the start,” she said.
“That is really the key to getting the community on board.
“We are so lucky to have Windlab here in our shire and the benefits it will bring to the community is exceptional and the ongoing benefits in terms of jobs and economic activity will be fantastic.”
Cr Nelson said Windlab's community fund would also help organisations in Hindmarsh.
“As a mayor, I go around to a lot of community groups and I know how much they struggle to raise funds for what they want to do,” she said.
“The community grants program will really help and the wider community will benefit from this. It’s just amazing.”
Windlab project manager Matthew Parton has said the project’s construction would lead to 100 jobs and contribute $4 million to the Wimmera’s economy.
The wind far itself was estimated to deliver $12 million in direct spending into the economy during its 25-year operational life.
Windab has scheduled the wind farm to be operational before this Christmas.
Portland engineering firm Keppel Prince will construct the turbine towers.
Windlab chief executive Roger Price said the project had started in record time thanks to cooperation with the community.
“Kiata brings the total direct investment in Victoria through Windlab’s wind projects to over a quarter of a billion dollars,” he said.
“We look forward to adding to that total as the State continues its push towards a clean, competitive, cost effective and modern electricity network.”
Windlab claims the wind farm will use technology developed at CSIRO to enable the Kiata Turbines to be Australia’s largest and most productive.
A spokesman for Victorian Energy, Environment and Climate Change Minister Lily D'Ambrosio said the Kiata Wind Farm was a significant project for the state.
“It’s part of our commitment to create 100 megawatts of large-scale renewables and purchase certificates from those projects,” he said