CONSTRUCTION has started on the Murra Warra Wind Farm after its developer secured the required funding for the project.
Renewable Energy Systems announced on Wednesday pre-construction work had already started for stage one of the project, which will be the largest wind farm in the southern hemisphere.
Stage one will involve 61 turbines being built, which will generate about 150 jobs.
The developer expects the turbines to be operating by mid-2019.
A second stage will involve a further 55 turbines being built.
When fully operational, the farm will generate enough electricity to power 220,000 homes each year.
RES and Macquarie Capital are providing the equity for the project, which also has a loan with a group of banks for about $320 million.
RES chief executive Matt Rebbeck said turbine manufacturer Senvion and civil and electrical contractor Downer were appointed as contractors for stage one.
He said a fund to support Wimmera community groups would also be established as part of the project.
“The Murra Warra Wind Farm is a world class project which, once constructed, will be one of the highest-performing wind farms in the southern hemisphere,” he said.
“We are proud to be making this important contribution to the regional Victorian economy. We have developed a strong relationship with the local community and look forward to continuing to engage with community stakeholders as we enter into the construction phase for stage one.”
The state government approved a planning permit for the project in December 2016.
In December last year, ANZ, Coca-Cola Amatil, Telstra and the University of Melbourne signed on to the project, securing long-term supply for the farm.
The farm will generate about eight permanent jobs for ongoing monitoring and maintenance works.
It will produce about 429 megawatts of power once fully operational and eliminate about 900,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions each year.
Landowners in the area told the Mail-Times in January they were optimistic about the economic benefits the project could bring.