A WIND farm near Portland is likely to be one of the final projects financed by a $10 billion government green bank set to be scrapped by an incoming Coalition government.
Pacific Hydro has received a $70 million loan from the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) towards the $110 million wind farm comprising 23 turbines.
Environmentalists have slammed the decision to scrap the corporation they argue will help the country meet the 20 per cent renewable figure by 2020 known as the Renewable Energy Target (RET).
Pacific Hydro boss Lane Crockett said the CEFC had been “pivotal in enabling the project to move forward”.
Around 400 jobs are expected to come out of the construction that will take two years to complete.
It’s likely the wind farm would have faced long delays if the CEFC hadn’t stepped in to help fund the last stage of the project.
Developers are also giving commitments to use locally-made components and towers.
The corporation signed off on the loan before the government entered caretaker mode — a move that ensures the cash will still flow into the project.
The 47-megawatt wind farm covers two sites at Cape Nelson north and Cape Sir William Grant near Portland and according to Pacific Hydro will generate enough power for more than 31,000 Victorian homes — offsetting 180,000 tonnes of carbon pollution each year.
The first two stages of the project saw turbines established at Cape Bridgewater and Cape Nelson south in 2009.
Pacific Hydro spokesman Andrew Richards said the company had been in talks with the CEFC for the last 12 months.
“There were quite a few companies around the place who were trying to get deals done so in that sense we’re quite lucky,” Mr Richards said.
Scrapping the CEFC will make it harder for smaller companies to put up turbines.
“Certainly for the mid-sized companies like Pacific Hydro it’s going to be more difficult,” he said.
The corporation has made pleas to incoming climate change minister Greg Hunt, arguing the corporation has been making good returns from the green loans.
But Mr Hunt is unconvinced.
“It was going to borrow $10 billion of taxpayers’ money to invest in speculative ventures which the taxpayer would have to fund and which the private sector would not fund,” Mr Hunt said on Monday.
with THE AGE