Origin Drops Possible Sale of Stockyard Hill Wind Project

Origin Energy Ltd., Australia’s biggest electricity and gas retailer, has dropped the possible sale of its Stockyard Hill wind farm in the state of Victoria and will continue developing the project.

“Stockyard Hill is one of Australia’s premier wind farm sites and Origin has elected to retain the right to commercialize it at the best time,” the Sydney-based company said today in an e-mailed response to questions.

Origin last year started a process to identify development options for Stockyard Hill, which has approval for 157 wind turbines at a site west of Melbourne. The company, also ConocoPhillips’s partner in a A$23 billion ($24 billion) liquefied natural gas project in Queensland state, has said it sought proposals from companies interested in supplying wind turbines, building Stockyard Hill or buying the development.

Australia is forecast to add 643 megawatts of wind capacity this year, with the number rising to 1,534 megawatts in 2020, according to data compiled by Bloomberg New Energy Finance. Almost $7.7 billion is expected to be invested in Australian wind projects in the next three years, BNEF forecasts.

Origin shares rose 0.8 percent to A$11.95 at the close in Sydney. They’ve gained 2.8 percent since Jan. 1 compared with a 1.5 percent advance for the S&P/ASX 200 index.

Origin is among companies in Australia developing wind farms as the nation moves toward a goal of getting at least 20 percent of its power from renewable energy by the end of the decade. Australia’s Climate Change Authority, which advises the government, recommended last month sticking with the country’s 2020 target to give investors confidence in the industry.

A “strong level of interest” had been shown from companies interested in Stockyard Hill, Origin said today. The company plans to continue development work on the wind-power project through 2013, which will help it figure out the timing of any final investment decision, it said today.

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