The 10.5 MW first stage of Hydro Tasmania's 130 MW Woolnorth wind farm -- the catalyst for the decision by Vestas in May to establish a turbine manufacturing plant in Tasmania -- is officially open. The project marks the beginning of Hydro Tasmania's A$200 million plus push into wind development, says chairman Peter Rae. "The completion of the Woolnorth development to 130 megawatts, together with our next two wind farm sites at Heemskirk on Tasmania's west coast and Musselroe in the north east, will see Tasmania make a significant contribution towards achieving Australia's mandated renewable energy targets, with 500 MW in this first of the planned stages," he says. It is estimated that Tasmania could viably support up to 1000 MW of wind turbines, producing over 3000 GWh of renewable energy a year. Under an agreement announced in February, Vestas will supply Hydro Tasmania with all the turbines for Woolnorth. Stage one of the wind farm comprises six Vestas 1.75 MW turbines. Work has already begun on the 54 MW Bluff Point second stage. This will comprise a further 31 Vestas 1.75 MW turbines. Completion of the remaining stages will be undertaken along with the planned Heemskirk and Musselroe developments. The recent approval of the A$500 million Basslink undersea electricity cable, linking Tasmania to the mainland Australian grid, is a significant step as it has enabled the Woolnorth project to proceed.
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