Joint venture lifts two big projects -- Australian developer in China

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Australian wind developer Roaring 40s is forging ahead with proj-ects in China and India. It has picked Spanish Gamesa turbines for its Shuangliao wind farm in Jilin Province -- which it is developing in partnership with Datang Jilin Electric Power -- and has signed a second joint venture agreement, this time with Guohua Energy Investment. Meanwhile, it is targeting 250 MW of renewables development in India by 2010, focusing on wind and hydro, with plans to set up an office in Mumbai within the next few months.

The 49.3 MW Shuangliao wind farm, costing CNY 507 million and using 58 Gamesa 850 kW units, is due online in October. It will generate 103 million kWh a year. Construction of another 50 MW at Shuangliao is to start in November. Roaring 40s' joint venture with Guohua Energy is planning an A$80 million, 48.75 MW project near Rongcheng City in Shandong on the east coast. Site work is to start this year with full completion by mid 2007. The turbines are expected to be 1.25 MW units from India's Suzlon Energy.

Roaring 40s and Guohua Energy are planning to jointly develop an initial 150 MW. Of the A$300 million required, A$200 million is to be provided as bank finance, with each of the partners contributing around A$50 million for an expected three 50 MW projects. Guohua and Roaring 40s hold 51% and 49% in the joint venture company, respectively. Guohua Energy Investment Corporation is the energy arm of the Chinese government-owned Shenhua Group.

Roaring 40s, having turned its back on Australia -- putting A$550 million of wind projects in Tasmania and South Australia on hold -- has decided to focus primarily on China and India. The company, a joint venture between Hydro Tasmania and CPL Power Asia, was established last year with a five year strategic plan to achieve a minimum portfolio of 1000 MW of wind and hydro energy assets in Australia, New Zealand, China, Korea, India, Thailand and other Asian markets.

It blames the Australian government's refusal to increase incentives and targets under its mandatory renewable energy target program for its decision to downgrade Australia. The two projects shelved are the A$300 million Heemskirk wind farm on the west coast of Tasmania and the A$250 million Waterloo wind farm 100 kilometres north of Adelaide. It still hopes to develop its 129 MW Musselroe wind farm in Tasmania, but only if it sells the renewable energy credits.

The company's Mark Kelleher says: "Without an increase in the initial target level, electricity retailers are reluctant to commit to the long term renewable energy certificate deals which are crucial in financing renewable energy projects. Consequently, further substantial investment in the renewable energy industry is unlikely."

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