Emu Downs wind farm in Western Australia (WA) is to become the focus of a major drive by state utility Western Power to increase the use of renewable energy. Giving the 80 MW project the go-ahead, state energy minister Eric Ripper said Western Power will spend A$94 million over the next ten years to help WA become a leader in renewable energy use and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The investment, he added, would mean a 60% increase in the amount of renewable energy sold by Western Power every year. Located on private land 30 kilometres east of Cervantes at Bibby Springs, the A$160 million wind plant is a joint venture between the Queensland government's Stanwell Corporation and Griffin Energy, a division of the Griffin Coal Mining Company. It will generate enough power to supply 25,000 homes. Western Power will take the bulk of the electricity generated, with a power purchase agreement in place for 25 MW of the 40 MW first stage of the project. This stage is expected to be operational by 2005, although the turbine supplier has yet to be announced. The consent for Emu Downs cements mid-west WA as the centre of an emerging wind farm province, added Ripper, with another 11 potential wind farm projects being investigated.
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