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South Australia wind farm to get up to 180 turbines

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image Suzlon's turbines will generate 600Mw of energy

Suzlon Energy Australia is planning to develop one of the world's biggest wind farms on Yorke Peninsula in South Australia.

Suzlon Energy Australia says the $1.3 billion wind farm is to be built 20 kilometres south-west of Ardrossan.

It says up to 180 turbines will generate 600 megawatts of energy and deliver power to 225,000 homes in Adelaide via an undersea cable.

The project is expected to create 500 construction jobs and 50 ongoing jobs and be completed by the end of 2015.

Suzlon Energy Australia commercial director Chris Judd said the company was approached by local land owners last year.

"It's basically been a land owner-developed project and this has been a dream of theirs for over seven years now so the beauty of this project is that it does come with some seven years of homework and data etcetera behind it to help justify its economics," he said.

Mr Judd said that the company was mindful of protecting fauna and flora and would ensure its cable did not pass through any marine sanctuary areas.

Landowner John McFarlane says he pitched the wind farm idea to Suzlon Energy Australia after collecting data for about eight years and has backing of about 30 local land owners.

He says laying a cable across St Vincent Gulf might have multiple benefits.

"At the same time you lay the undersea cable you would lay an optical fibre cable which would bring the National Broadband Network to Yorke Peninsula earlier than it otherwise would happen," he said.

Community consultation is planned as part of the next stage of the energy project.

Suzlon also has involvement with wind farm projects at Hallett, north of Adelaide.

'Bold target'

Premier Mike Rann says the Yorke Peninsula proposal will add to South Australia's green credentials.

"We've got 54 per cent of Australia's wind power and that's per capita five times more than Victoria, 10 times more than New South Wales," he said.

Mr Rann says the project would help South Australia's ability to reach a 33 per cent target for renewable energy generation by 2020.

"Obviously if this project gets the go-ahead then that would catapult us forward in terms of reaching a very bold target, but we're easily leading the country in both solar power, and in wind power and also of course in geothermal development," he said.

An organisation which considers potential health issues associated with wind turbines says it has concerns with the Yorke Peninsula plan.

Dr Sarah Laurie from the Waubra Foundation says not enough is known about the cause of health problems for people living close to turbines.

"We're saying 'If you want to build turbines, fine go ahead and do it further than 10 kilometres away'," she said.

"Between nought and 10 kilometres away, we need to do the research and find out why these people are getting the disturbed sleep and the other serious health problems they're getting."

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