International renewable energy developer, UPC Renewables today formally announced the entry into Australia with the creation of UPC Renewables Australia Pty Ltd.

UPC Renewables has been a developer for more than 20 years, with UPC-formed companies having developed more than 3,500 MWs of renewable energy and more than USD5 billion of capital deployed across three continents.

UPC Renewables Australia Pty Ltd, and the Hammond Family, owners of Robbins Island and other lands near Smithton on the north west coast of Tasmania, have signed an agreement to develop a Renewable Energy project on Robbins Island and at nearby Jims Plain.

UPC Renewables Australia Pty Ltd CEO Anton Rohner said the projects would have an aggregated output potential of between 600MW and 1,000MW of wind energy potential.

“The Robbins Island project itself is a very large isolated site and, together with Jims Plain, have some of the best proven wind resources in the world,” he said.

“Once built, it will complement the Prime Minister’s recently announced strategy for Tasmanian Wind and Hydro systems to act as south-east Australia’s renewable energy battery and is close to the Australian Energy Market Operator’s proposed entry point for a second interconnector between Tasmania and Victoria.”

“The Robbins Island and Jims Plain projects, together with Tasmania’s hydro assets and other new renewable energy projects, will assist in making a second interconnector a dispatchable and significant renewable energy generator into the National Electricity Market.”

A study into the feasibility of connecting directly to the Victorian grid from Robbins Island has also been initiated..

Almost 16-years-ago investigations commenced into the feasibility of a large wind farm on the west side of Robbins Island (total 10,184 hectares) and Jims Plain (total 380 hectares). More than 12 years of wind data, environmental studies and financial modelling were completed in preparation for lodgement of a Development Proposal and Environmental Management Plan for both sites.

Due to the lack of a viable transmission solution and volatility in government policy at the time, the project was placed in abeyance until early 2017.

Mr Rohner said: “With the changes in the energy market and potential viable transmission solutions available this projects is set to proceed; Robbins Island and Jims Plain could accommodate approximately 600MW to 1,000MW of wind energy generation capacity between them.”

“The technology to be deployed at the site will be mostly wind energy but the option of additional solar and other non-hydro based energy storage technologies is also contemplated,” he said.

The total Robbins Island and Jims Plains projects, once built, would cost between $1.2 billion and $1.6 billion.

The Robbins Island projects is targeted to be ready for investment by early 2019 and the project will create approximately 250 jobs during construction and 50+ jobs when operational. The smaller Jims Plan project is expected to be investment ready by mid-2018 with a smaller number of additional jobs.

“From here, we have further resource and environmental monitoring work to undertake with the development application processes and transmission studies commencing,” Mr Rohner said.

Mr Rohner also announced that Oliver Yates had joined the company as an Executive Director.

Mr Yates was the inaugural CEO for the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC), a $10 billion fund set up by the Australian government to reduce emissions in Australia.

Mr Yates said he was excited to join the UPC Renewables team to develop Robbins Island, one of the largest renewable energy projects in the southern hemisphere and other UPC Renewables projects in Australia.

“This project has the scale and wind resource to become a major contributor to the energy supply challenges we face. Operating more than 90 per cent of the time once linked to Victoria, it is highly complementary to the National Electricity Market.”