Australian agri-business to go green with 196MW wind

Equipped with battery storage, the new facility will supply enough electricity to power a 40-hectare greenhouse.

Nectar Farms, a Sydney-based agri-business, has said it will power its expanding operations with a 196MW wind farm.

The project in Western Victoria will see Nectar Farms invest A$215 million ($164 million; €144 million) in a new 30-hectare glasshouse facility, in the second stage of the company's expansion. It will come with a co-located Bulgana Green Power Hub, equipped with 56 wind turbines and a 20MW battery, for another investment of A$350 million, to provide electricity for the hydroponic greenhouses.

The project will make Nectar Farms' business at Stawell the world's first-ever protected crop farm completely powered by renewable energy, according to the state's premier, Daniel Andrews.

France's Neoen, which is building the wind farm, said that the firm will receive a “competitive” electricity price from the facility.

Backed by the Australian government's Regional Jobs and Infrastructure Fund, the agri-business is currently developing a 10-hectare greenhouse, the first stage of an expansion programme designed to boost the supply of vegetables for domestic and international markets.

“It is an exciting proposal that shows how renewable energy can unlock opportunities for large, energy-intensive businesses, to create jobs and build a better future for regional communities,” said Lily D'Ambrosio, Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change. The Nectar Farms' expansion is expected to create more than 1,300 new jobs.