Engie, the world’s biggest independent power producer, is reviving its push into the Australia renewable energy market with the purchase of development rights to the $750 million Hills of Gold wind project in northern New South Wales.
Engie will take on the ongoing development of the 420MW wind farm, the largest wind project in the state, which is set to be constructed near the town of Nundle in NSW’s New England region, after buying out the development entity Wind Energy Partners.
The project will be at the heart of what is set to be one of Australia’s first renewable energy zones, planned by the NSW government for the New England region, and is set to create more than 215 direct jobs during the construction phase, and 30 ongoing roles once in operation.
Engie is one of the world’s largest electricity utilities, with the French multinational operating more than 115GW of generation capacity globally, including a 19GW portfolio of renewable energy projects.
Engie’s acquisition of the rights to the Hills of Gold wind farm is the latest in a number of multinational energy companies that have made a push into the Australian clean energy space, as they work to pivot away from businesses built on traditional fossil fuel projects. This includes global energy giants Enel, and oil majors Total, Shell and BP, which have all made major acquisitions as they expand their local investments in clean energy ventures, and who can provide the balance sheet to overcome nervous financiers.
The project will involve the installation of up to 70 wind turbines, with a rated output of 6MW per wind turbine, and will include the installation of an onsite substation linking the project to the transmission network link that runs between Liddell and Tamworth. At 6MW per turbine, the project will see some of the largest wind turbines ever deployed in Australia and with each turbine standing at more than 200 metres in height. Construction of the Hills of Gold wind farm is expected to commence in early 2022.