Mitsui buys 104 MW Bald Hills project

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Australia's Wind Power Pty Ltd has sold its 104 MW Bald Hills project to Japanese company Mitsui. The project, near Wonthaggi in Victoria, became notorious for the perceived threat it might pose to the area's orange-bellied parrot. At one time, having been approved for development by the government of Victoria back in 2004, it was blocked by federal authorities, before that decision was reversed last year (Windpower Monthly, February 2007). The protracted planning battle resulted in the project's cost rising by A$30 million ( -- 18.26 million) to A$250 million ( -- 152.16 million), says Wind Power's Andrew Newbold. The sale to Mitsui will ensure the project proceeds. "Basically we needed an equity partner," Newbold told The Australian newspaper. Peter Batchelor, Victoria's state energy minister, is also happy. "What we are interested in is making sure these renewable projects get built," he is quoted as saying. "It is great to see international companies such as Mitsui investing in Victorian renewable energy projects such as this, which will boost the local economy and reduce our impact on climate change." The deal is yet to be finalised. Mitsui says it expects to make a final investment decision on Bald Hills within the next 12 months. If it proceeds, commercial operation could begin in 2011.

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