The West

Mega wind farm for Mid West
Mega wind farm for Mid West

State-owned power generator Verve is planning to significantly increase WA's share of renewable energy supplies by spending $600 million to build the State's biggest wind farm.

Despite questions about the Federal Government's commitment to a minimum level of green energy, Verve confirmed it was seeking to build a massive $600 million wind farm in the Mid West.

In documents lodged with WA's environmental watchdog, Verve said the Warradarge wind farm, about 270km north of Perth, could produce enough electricity to power 140,000 homes.

The wind farm would have up to 100 turbines at a maximum height of 152m. They would be built in three stages between 2014 and 2020.

Touting an overall capacity of 250MW, the project would eclipse the privately-owned Collgar operation near Merredin, which opened last June and cost $750 million, as the biggest wind farm in WA.

"The wind farm would also avoid at least 700,000 tonnes of CO{-2} from entering the atmosphere annually," Verve told the Environmental Protection Authority.

A Verve spokesman said the plan was subject to a number of hurdles including board and State Government approval and the completion of a 330kV powerline from Eneabba to Three Springs. However, if approved the wind farm would be a major boost to the proportion of WA's electricity sourced from renewable generators.

Perth and the South West currently get about 9 per cent of their energy from renewable providers but the Warradarge proposal would lift that to about 12 per cent. It would also be the latest in a rush of wind farms springing up across WA, with Verve poised to put the finishing touches on a 55MW project further north near Geraldton.

Sustainable Energy Association chief adviser Ray Wills welcomed Verve's proposal but queried whether WA's wind farms were becoming too concentrated around the Mid West.

Dr Wills said while there were calls for Australia's mandatory renewable energy target to be pared back amid a Federal review, the latest plan was evidence of support for renewable energy.

It comes as electricity retailer Synergy starts sending out its own information on the impact of the carbon tax in hundreds of thousands of household electricity bills.

It also follows Premier Colin Barnett's refusal to allow the inclusion of Federal Government information on the carbon tax, claiming it amounted to "propaganda".

The material, which is going out to about 20,000 Synergy customers a day, gives a breakdown of the taxpayer subsidy of a household's power bill per unit of energy.

The State Government imposed a 3.5 per cent price rise in its Budget but approved a further carbon tax-related increase that Synergy believes will add about $134 to the average annual household power bill.

With Gareth Parker

The West Australian

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