Tauranga-based power retailer and generator Trustpower yesterday launched Stage 2 of its largest single asset, the Snowtown Wind Farm in South Australia.
Snowtown is South Australia's largest, and Australia's second-largest, wind farm.
Trustpower has to date invested $659 million in the wind farm, which spans 32km of the Hummocks and Barunga ranges in South Australia's Mid-North region, 150km north of Adelaide.
South Australian Premier Jay Weatherill, local MPs and mayors, representatives of Trustpower, and turbine supplier and installer Siemens, and other contractors took part in the formal opening.
The event recognised the support of local landowners and the wider community in Snowtown, a small rural town of about 400 people, said Trustpower chief executive Vince Hawksworth.
"Special thanks go to the local community and land owners for their unwavering support, to Siemens for delivering leading-edge technology and bringing the project in ahead of time and under budget, and to all of the other contractors and stakeholders who have played their part in making this happen," said Mr Hawksworth.
"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."
The completion of the Snowtown Stage 2 development means the Snowtown Wind Farm now provides enough power to supply 230,000 South Australian homes, equivalent to 10 per cent of South Australia's total electricity consumption.
"The reason we're here is because we have the competencies to do it. We understand the market and the technologies and we backed ourselves to do the development process and do it in other jurisdictions," said Trustpower chairman Bruce Harker.
"It's not to get bigger, it's to add shareholder value."
Siemens Australia chief executive Jeff Connolly said the project was good for the local economy, the environment and the local community.
"Snowtown Stage 2 demonstrates what can be achieved when combining German technology with South Australian know-how and New Zealand investment."
• Trustpower paid the costs of David Porter's visit to Snowtown.
• Stage 1 of Trustpower's Snowtown wind farm, an investment of $220 million and consisting of 47 Suzlon 2.1 MW turbines, has been in operation since 2008. It produces 345 GWh per annum.
• Stage 2, a further investment of $439 million, uses 90 of Siemens latest technology direct drive 3.0 MW turbines, located north and south of the original Stage 1 development. It is expected to produce an additional 989 GWh per annum.