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If an innovative consortium has its way, the Sydney 2000 Olympics will be the first games to be powered exclusively by renewable energy, the majority of which would come from wind. The Hunter Environmental Initiatives consortium aims to foster ecologically sustainable development. The group includes New South Wales electric utility Orion Energy, currently launching a green pricing scheme to pay for development of wind, the local Newcastle City council, the University of Newcastle and the Koorangang wetland Rehabilitation Centre. The consortium has been told the Olympics site, located in metropolitan Sydney, will have an average demand of 26 MW, with a peak of about 80 MW. The group has proposed to supply the power for the games from a combination of energy sources, including hydro on existing dams, landfill gas and photovoltaic solar cells. The bulk of the power, however, would come from a wind farm of up to 10 MW to be established on Koorangang Island, a heavy industrial site close to the centre of Newcastle and about 120 km north of Sydney. The island is also the site of the largest export coal-loader in the world and a wetlands rehabilitation programme. Orion's sustainable technologies manager, Ian Nichols, says the location has an average annual wind speed of 6.5-7.0 m/s while another location on the Stockton peninsula nearby has an average speed of 7.0 m/s. As both sites are near wetlands, environmental impact assessments will be conducted to address bird strike, noise and visual impacts of 10-15 turbines proposed for the sites.

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