A WIND farm at Kiata with the capacity to power more than 20,000 homes is officially open.
Energy Minister Lily D’Ambrosio, along with Windlab Limited and John Laing Group, officially opened the facility on Wednesday.
The nine-turbine farm was connected to the grid in November last year for four weeks of endurance testing.
It is now fully operational.
Kiata Wind Farm director Rob Fisher said the turbines were generating electricity in line with expectations.
“We think it is going to be one of the best performing wind farms in the national electricity market. It has a combination of a great wind source and really big turbines,” he said.
“These are the biggest turbines operating in Australia to date and performing inline with expectations on the top end of the market.”
Mr Fisher said the wind farm was the first of its kind to have the community owning shares alongside project investors.
“Every time we get paid a dividend, our neighbours to the project and the project site will get a dividend as well for as long as this project is operating,” he said.
Hindmarsh Shire Mayor Ron Ismay said the additional income from the wind farm would benefit the community.
He said 20 families living near the Kiata Wind Farm would receive payments, as well as the council.
“The shire will get a substantial amount of money that we can put back into community projects, which will be great for us,” he said.
Cr Ismay said the council hoped the wind farm would create more opportunities.
“Hopefully we can convince the politicians to upgrade the power line between Ballarat and South Australia and there will be more opportunities to build more of these,” he said.
Ms D’Ambrosio said the project’s major focus was boosting the economy.
The project, worth $77 million, supported 100 construction jobs and three ongoing jobs in the region.
“We’ve backed the Kiata Wind Farm every step of the way – because we’re making Victoria the national leader in renewable energy to drive down energy prices, create jobs and reduce emissions,” she said.
“With these types of projects we want to maximise local content – looking at suppliers to drive further opportunities for business across regional Victoria.”
Renewable energy advocate Simon Corbell renewable energy transformed and supported regional communities. He said it recognised the connection between the traditional custodians and rural farming community and invested in better infrastructure.