The largest wind farm in the Southern Hemisphere will be built in Australia at Macarthur near Hamilton, 260km west of Melbourne, Victoria. Comprising 140 Vestas V112-3.0 MW wind turbine generators, the 420 MW Macarthur Wind Farm will have the capacity to power more than 220,000 average Victorian homes and abate more than 1.7 million tons of greenhouse gases every year – the equivalent of taking more than 420,000 cars off the road each year.

Power companies AGL and Meridian will each fund 50 percent of the capital construction costs, while AGL will acquire all of the wind farm’s energy output and renewable energy certificates. Recent enhancements to the Australian Government’s 2020 Renewable Energy Target (RET) scheme will require around 9,500 MW of new renewable energy generation capacity to be built this decade. The Macarthur Wind Farm is expected to be fully operational in 2013 at a time when it will be needed to meet the legislated demand for Renewable Energy Certificates under the RET scheme.

At the formal launch of the project the Premier of Victoria, John Brumby, said, “This $1 billion project will help cut emissions, create new jobs and provide clean energy for Victorians. Attracting a renewable project of this scale to Victoria is yet another example of how Victoria is leading the way towards a clean energy future.”

The Macarthur site is one of the first to utilize Vestas’ new 3.0 MW V112 turbines which AGL CEO and Managing Director, Michael Fraser says has allowed the project to increase the capacity of the wind farm while reducing the number of towers from 174 to 140.

The V112-3.0 MW turbines are designed for low and medium wind sites and, according to Vestas, deliver high productivity due to their large swept area, higher rotor efficiency and better serviceability and reliability. With a rotor diameter of 112m (367ft), swept area of 9,852m2, cut-in wind speed of 3 m/s and cut-out wind speed of 25m/s, they should be well suited to the Macarthur site that has an average wind speed of 7.6m/s.

The first turbines are expected on site during Q3 2011, with the whole project expected to be completed by the first half of 2013.