7 Feb 2002 – Australian Wind Technology, which is 100 per cent owned by the Danish Vestas Group, has won an order for delivery of wind turbines for projects with a total capacity of 128 MW. The value of the order is approximately 680m Krona ($79.5m).

The order is placed by the power producer Hydro Tasmania, which is operating more than 2500 MW of hydropower in Tasmania. The order is part of an A$200m ($101.5m) wind project development plan.

The order consists of turbines of the model V66-1.75 MW to be delivered during 2003 and 2004. The first 54 MW will be delivered in 2003 for installation at Bluff Point on the Northwest coast of Tasmania.

The turbines will be assembled locally by Vestas, which said that, to the extent feasible; components will be sourced locally in the state of Tasmania. Vestas is currently investigating the feasibility of establishing local blade manufacturing.

“We are very pleased that Hydro Tasmania selected Vestas as supplier. Hydro Tasmania is one of Australia’s most committed companies in development of renewable energy resources and we look forward to assisting Hydro Tasmania in exploiting the vast wind resources of Australia”, says Johannes Poulsen, Managing Director of Vestas Wind Systems A/S.

Bluff Point would come into service by mid 2003, but the small size of the Tasmanian market limits further growth before National Grid Group Plc completes the undersea Basslink power transmission link to Victoria.

“Should Basslink be delayed then our contract with Vestas allows for Hydro Tasmania to use this capacity to facilitate our interstate developments and partnering arrangements generally,” Hydro Tasmania chairman Peter Rae said in a statement.

Basslink is targeting 2003/04 start-up but is battling a range of environmental concerns, including fears that the monopole design will lead to corrosion of undersea pipelines in the petroleum rich Bass Strait.

Basslink is a key part of the Tasmanian government’s energy plan, and Deputy Premier Paul Lennon said it would allow the state to help meet federal government targets for increased use of renewable energy.

“Tasmania has one of the best wind resources in the world and it is estimated that the state could support up to 1000 MW of wind turbines,” he said.

Hydro Tasmania, which supplies virtually all the island state’s electricity from hydro-electricity projects, is also examining potential wind development sites in Victoria, South Australia and Western Australia.