The Canunda Wind Farm (also called ‘Lake Bonney’) was developed by Canunda Power and Babcock & Brown Wind Partners (now known as Infigen Energy), at Lake Bonney near Millicent, South Australia. The 206MW project was initially developed in two stages with an investment of AU$92.5m. The 46MW Stage 1 was opened in March 2005 and the 160MW Stage 2 opened in September 2008. It is Australia’s largest wind energy project. In November 2008, Infigen Energy announced stage 3 of the project, to add another 39MW to the wind farm.
The AU$92.5m project is owned by Canunda Power Pty. Ltd, a wholly owned subsidiary of UK-based International Power Plc. The project site is located on a ridge overlooking Lake Bonney, 14km from International Power’s 63MW Snuggery peaking station. Stage 1 has 23 2MW turbines manufactured by Vestas Australian Wind Technology Pty. Ltd. The 160MW Stage 2 began in November 2006 and was finished in September 2008.
The entire output from the wind farm has been contracted under a long-term power purchase agreement with Australian Gas and Light Company.
Three elements for a successful wind energy project
The Canunda Wind Farm (formerly called Lake Bonney Central Wind Farm) was the first in a series of major wind energy projects being developed by International Power and Babcock & Brown in South Australia and other states. According to Babcock & Brown, the Canunda wind farm has the three key components needed for a successful wind energy project: strong and proven wind resources, closeness to the transmission grid, and strong local community support.
In March 2004, International Power announced that it had raised AU$62m of non-recourse finance to fund the wind farm’s development and construction. The lead arranger banks for the financing were The Royal Bank of Scotland and Credit Agricole Indo-Suez. International Power invested AU$30m in this project, taking the total enterprise value to AU$92.5m.
Wind Prospect Pty. performed the initial studies, including financial risk assessment, site selection and assessment, planning management, site design and optimisation and cost estimation.
Whole Canunda output already sold
AGL (the country’s largest energy retailer with more than 3.1 million customers across Australia) has committed itself to purchase the entire electricity output of the Wind Farm. Canunda was the second purchasing agreement AGL has established with a Wind Farm in South Australia, following an earlier agreement with Starfish Hill. AGL also owns and operates landfill extraction sites and cogeneration facilities, including an existing arrangement with the Tarong Energy-owned Starfish Hill for the purchase of up to 120,000MWh.
The 16km Wind Farm Distribution Line transports the generated electricity, mainly alongside roadside verges, to a nearby substation at Snuggery. The distribution line traverses mostly roadside verges, avoiding areas of environmental sensitivity along the route.
Vestas supplied the turbines
Vestas was the supplier of turbines for stage 1 and 2 of the wind farm. It was also the supplier of turbines for the stage 3 expansion. The turbines have a remote monitoring system, together with an underground electrical cable network, access tracks, crane hardstandings, wind monitoring masts, a 33kV double-circuit distribution line, small switchgear buildings and appropriate site signs.
Vestas received the €45m contract to supply the Stage 1 turbines. These have a remote monitoring system, together with an underground electrical cable network, access tracks, crane hardstandings, wind monitoring masts, a 33kV double-circuit distribution line, small switchgear buildings and appropriate site signs.
Vestas’s three-bladed pitch regulated machines have rotor and nacelle mounted on a cylindrical steel tower. Each turbine consists of a 67m high tower and 40m long blades, and hence are 107m in height to the tip of the blade.
These wind turbines rotate at speeds between 10.5 rpm and 24.4rpm, depending on the wind speed. The stop wind speed is 25m/s (there is an air brake with three separate pitch cylinders). Microprocessor-based monitoring of all turbine functions gives the option of remote monitoring. Output regulation and optimisation uses OptiSpeed™ with OptiTip® pitch regulation. Stage 2 has 53 Vestas V90 3-MW turbines. They have a 78m steel tower, with 90m rotor diameter and 44m blade length.
Canunda Wind Farm, Stage 3
Infigen Energy announced the expansion of the Canunda wind farm to stage-3 on 26 November 2008.
The third stage has an installed capacity of 39MW and consists of 13 more 90V 3.0MW wind turbines supplied by Vestas. The project began in February 2009 and commercial operations started in July 2010.
Stage 3 is located 8km south east of Tantanoola in south east of South Australia.
Major international suppliers
International Power plc has facilities in Australia, United States, United Kingdom, Czech Republic, UAE, Portugal, Turkey, Malaysia, Pakistan and Thailand.
Babcock & Brown was a global merchant/investment banking firm that acquires, manages, structures and arranges financing for "big ticket" assets, projects and other opportunities. Founded in 1977, Babcock & Brown was owned 80% by its employees and 20% by the HVB Group ("HVB").
Australian Gas and Light Company (AGL) was established in New South Wales in 1837 to light the streets of Sydney with coal gas. Today, AGL is Australia’s leading energy provider. AGL’s wholesale and retail marketing businesses sell natural gas, electricity, and associated products and services to around 3 million customers.
Vestas develops, manufactures, sells, markets and maintains wind power systems. The company began wind turbine manufacturing in 1979 and has played a major role in the dynamic wind power industry ever since.