HydroTasmania 700MW China pact

Australia’s HydroTasmania has strengthened its links with power group Shenhua by signing a co-operation agreement with the Chinese company – already an investor in several of its major wind projects.

The Australian group says the two partners hope to develop, build and operate a further 700MW of wind farms in Australia by 2020, investing about A$1.6bn ($1.7bn).

Shenhua – a unit of Beijing-based Guohua Energy Investment, which is in turn part of the world’s largest coal company, state-owned Shenhua Group – has already invested in HydroTasmania’s Musselroe and Woolnorth wind farms.

The Chinese group owns 75% of the wind projects, which total about 300MW between them, with HydroTasmania holding the remainder and operating the plants.

Guohua operates about 4GW of wind capacity within China.

HydroTasmania is currently consulting on the viability of plans for a 600MW wind farm in Tasmania’s King Island.

Hydro Tasmania CEO Roy Adair said “Shenhua is a first-class strategic partner for Hydro Tasmania and for the state.

“The company is one of the world’s largest wind developers, and brings a wealth of expertise in the renewable energy sector and a strong interest in working with us on other renewable energy projects.”

The largest wind farm yet built in the southern Hemisphere, the 420MW Macarthur project, will be formally opened in the Australian state of Victoria tomorrow.