The second stage of South Australia’s largest wind farm has been officially launched this week, ahead of schedule and under budget.

The Trustpower owned Snowtown II will consist of 90 Siemens 3.0 MW wind turbines. They will produce around 989 GWh per year, which is roughly equivalent to the power required by 180,000 homes over the course of a year.

Jay Weatherill, the Premier of South Australia, Siemens Australia CEO Jeff Connolly and Trustpower Chief Executive, Vince Hawksworth launched the wind farm together at a community event.

“It’s good for the economy, good for the environment and, importantly, good for the local community. Snowtown Stage 2 demonstrates what can be achieved when combining German technology with South Australian know-how and New Zealand investment,” Siemens CEO Jeff Connolly told the audience.

The new turbines are located north and south of the original Snowtown project, which consists of 47 Suzlon 2.1 MW turbines. That project has been in operation since 2008, producing 345 GWh per year which is roughly a third of the newly completed project. The initial Snowtown project therefore was able to power 60,000 homes in Australia.

Trustpower Chief Executive, Vince Hawksworth, said that the project represented a major step towards a sustainable future. “Climate change is an issue affecting the lives of everybody. Those of us lucky to live on either side of the Tasman Sea have become increasingly aware of that, and the impact it can potentially have on our lives and our country’s economies if we don’t all play a part in changing our ways. This project is another great step in the transformation to a sustainable electricity generation environment, and Trustpower is proud to be investing in that.”

The project has been marked by strong local support and community cooperation to completing the new wind farm. Local landowners, who have the turbines installed on their property, have been receiving alternative income and can continue to graze the land. Local supply and services contracts in excess of $75 million were awarded. This included fabrication of 20 towers by Whyalla engineering firm, E&A Contractors and civil and electrical installation works by Civil and Technical Constructions and Consolidated Power Projects.

Premier for South Australia, Jay Weatherill, said the wind turbines are an important part of the state’s renewable future. “This plant confirms South Australia’s commitment to being the nation’s leader when it comes to providing efficient renewable wind energy programs. It is a key platform in our plan for renewable energy to supply 50 per cent of the state’s annual power by 2025,” Weatherill said.

The acting chair for the Clean Energy Council, Kane Thornton, praised the state for its investment in renewable energy, but warned against wider uncertainty due to a lack of clarity of the Federal Government’s position on renewable energy.

Thornton said, “Analysis by Bloomberg New Energy Finance shows that Australia is having its worst year for clean energy investment in more than a decade. This investment freeze is likely to continue while the Federal Government’s review of the policy is creating so much uncertainty across the sector. The South Australian Government has recognised the many benefits that renewable energy can bring to the local economy, and its support has been extremely important for the continued development of wind power in the state.” When concerning the potential benefits Thornton also said “Along with the billions of dollars in investment and economic activity wind power has generated in the state, renewable energy has been a remarkable success story for South Australia.”

This most recent display of what can be done about renewable energy should serve as an example about what can be done if there is genuine commitment from a government. Renewable energy has to be the way forward, with new studies saying that the planet Earth has had an area the size of France destroyed by poor management of fuel and resources. This most recent project should serve as an example to the rest of the world that renewable energy when taken seriously can save us money but more importantly. Save the planet.