A brand new player on the Australian wind scene -- with both European and American roots -- has scored lease options for about 150 MW of wind power development on sites in South Australia. Wind Prospect Pty Ltd (WPPL) is a joint venture by three established wind project developers and operators: Britain's Wind Prospect Ltd, enXco of California, which has its corporate headquarters in Denmark, and the International Wind Company of Texas, which specialises in wind project investment.
WPPL's general manager, Michael Vawser, a citizen of South Australia, says monitoring of the wind resource is already under way at the WPPL sites. "The federal 2% obligation has provided an opportunity for increased wind development in Australia," he points out. While acknowledging that a large chunk of the estimated 3500 MW of new capacity the obligation will result in will be made up of other renewables, such as biomass, he says wind could potentially contribute up to 1000 MW.
"Considering there are about fifteen established wind developers in Australia, WPPL has entered the market with a sizeable share of that potential," he adds. "Even though there are lots of developers looking for sites in South Australia, Wind Prospect is the first wind energy development construction and operation company to actually have its headquarters here."
WPPL is exploring the options of either buying Australian made turbines or the possibility of becoming directly involved in turbine manufacturing operations with a view to establishing production within South Australia.
All three companies behind WPPL have long histories in the wind business. Wind Prospect Ltd has developed eight wind farms in the UK and one in Ireland and currently operates five of these plant. EnXco was founded in 1987 in Denmark and today operates more than 4400 wind turbines, mostly in California. It is owned by Danish investment institutions and its senior management. The company is the owner or partial owner of about 209 MW of wind plant and is participating in a series of new wind projects in the US, Germany, Turkey and the UK, with a subsidiary company in Germany, a 50/50 joint-venture in England (Cumbria Wind Farms) and a 50/50 joint-venture partnership in India. Together, these projects are to generate some 300 MW.
The International Wind Company was formed in 1991 and has equity interests in 140 MW of wind plant including; three projects totalling 90 MW in California, four projects in England totalling 26 MW and a new 24 MW project in Costa Rica.