Newcastle turbine gone with the wind

The famous Kooragang Island wind turbine in Newcastle will be up for sale, making way for a coal-loader in the future.

Newcastle Port Corporation owns the land on which the turbine stands.

The turbine’s future has been shaky since it was disclosed two years ago the turbine’s concrete footings clashed with plans for a ship turning bay or swing basin in the vicinity, a Port Corporation spokeswoman said.

A development application has been granted, Newcastle Herald reported.

Ausgrid, formerly EnergyAustralia, said it is selling the turbine, along with its Singleton solar farm and a solar power station in Sydney as they do not suit its business model.

“Ausgrid runs a poles and wires electricity network now, so it is no longer appropriate that we continue to own and manage these facilities,” Ausgrid chief operating officer Trevor Armstrong said.

“They were iconic examples of renewable energy sources at the time and helped support GreenPower retail products during the early days of the scheme.”

The turbine produces about 900,000 kilowatt hours of renewable energy per year, sufficient to power 150 homes a year.

It reached 10 million kilowatt hours in mid 2009.

The turbine is 73 metres high and was installed in late 1997 in a bid to advance the budding green energy market.

It became the first commercial wind generation project in Australia to be accredited under the previous national GreenPower project.

The Kooragang turbine kept supplying green energy even as larger and more efficient turbines emerged.

Coal export infrastructure has cropped up around the turbine in the last decade.

Energy Australia originally wanted to instate numerous turbines along the riverbank to benefit from the wind patterns in the region.

Ausgrid energy efficiency expert Paul Myors was part of a team that helped design, construct and commission the Singleton solar farm and the Kooragang turbine.

“They were milestone projects in demonstrating how renewable energy generators could be commercialised and made more accessible for an average household,” he said.

Ausgrid has called on more than 20 businesses and organisations to lodge expressions of interest in the three generators.

The Kooragang turbine would probably need to be relocated to allow for future redevelopment on the land.

The solar generators, however, can stay on the site or be used elsewhere.

The company will ask for expressions of interest from next week and it could take three months to finish.

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