Spanish adventure in Australia -- CEHN a long way from home

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Spanish renewable energy group Corporación Energía Hidroeléctrica de Navarra (CEHN) has announced its first venture in the Australian market -- the development of a 66 MW wind farm in the state of South Australia. The company is joining forces with Australian generator Hydro Tasmania to build a A$107 million (EUR 66.3 million) project in a 50:50 joint venture.

Cathedral Rocks wind farm on the Eyre Peninsula will comprise 33, Vestas 2 MW wind turbines. Construction is expected to start in June. Hydro Tasmania was granted development approval for the project in August 2003 and in November signed a 20 year grid connection agreement with transmission company Electranet to link the wind farm to the South Australia grid.

others planned

The project will be the first in a series planned for Australia by the Spanish company: "EHN has other wind energy projects at an advanced stage of development and under investigation in Australia, in addition to the Cathedral Rocks project," says the company. It adds that Australia is "a continent with considerable wind power resources and excellent growth prospects."

Its joint venture partner, Hydro Tasmania, is already developing and operating the 64 MW wind farm at Woolnorth in the far north-west of mainland Tasmania and has recently expanded the Huxley Hill Wind Farm on King Island. It has also submitted development applications for two further large scale developments at Musselroe in Tasmania's north-east and Heemskirk on the west coast. "The Cathedral Rocks project will expand our expertise in wind farm development and give early experience operating in the national electricity market prior to Tasmania joining the national market in May 2005," says Hydro Tasmania's Geoff Willis. Commenting on the partnership with EHN, he says: "We realised early in our discussions that our two businesses have much common ground with both having extensive experience in developing renewable energy projects. Both businesses have similar vision and values and a number of complementary capabilities, which will be invaluable in a joint venture arrangement." The National Australia Bank has been appointed to provide a project financing arrangement.

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