ICN helps local suppliers and project owners connect to boost renewable energy supply chain for clean energy infrastructure

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Industry Capability Network (ICN) has helped local suppliers win substantial contracts for a string of southern NSW wind farms, starting with Bungendore’s $435 million Capital Wind Farm. ICN’s Clean Technology Directory is now bringing the sector closer together.

Drive down the Federal Highway to Canberra, and you’ll see some of the nation’s most visible wind turbines turning on the far shores of Lake George. The 140 megawatts (MW) of green energy produced by Capital Wind Farm has powered Sydney Water’s desalination plant since 2009, reducing greenhouse gas emissions by about 390,000 tonnes each year.

The wind farm was built by the international contractor Suzlon for owners Infigen Energy Australia. They approached ICN to help find Australian suppliers for the 67 turbine towers and their electrical transformers, as well as the local engineering capabilities to support their installation.

The project was listed on ICN Gateway and closely followed by ICN’s NSW South East Regional Manager, Wally Hirsch and ICN’s National Sector Manager – Clean Technology, Rob McCullagh. ‘ICN was in touch with the project team from the outset to advise on the local companies that could help to successfully complete the project,’ says Rob.

Wally had been the Regional Manager since 2001, and knew who could manage the supporting civil works, specialised transport and electrical contracting. ‘This is expertise that can be drawn from other industries, and for which contractors do not want to travel far from their home base,’ reasons Wally.

The turbines and transformers themselves were another story, requiring significant capital investment and engineering expertise. Suitable suppliers from further afield on the east coast were encouraged to tender.

In the end, the towers were drawn from two regional firms – Keppel Prince, based in Portland, Victoria, and Queensland’s RPG Australia. The transformers were sourced from Schneider Electric, based in Benalla, Victoria.

These firms now make up a proven supply capability to support renewable energy in the area. After Capital Wind Farm, they have contributed to a 30MW plant on the nearby Cullerin Range and in 2011, the 45MW Walwa Wind Farm near Gunning and the 46MW Woodlawn extension of the Capital Wind Farm project.

This expertise and similar capabilities across Australia are now being accessed through ICN’s Cleantech Directory. As a part of the ICN Gateway, the Directory is the first and best place to find new projects and capabilities. But it also invites project developers and suppliers to industry events, trade delegations, conferences and other business-building opportunities.

‘The Cleantech Directory has delivered well,’ says Rob McCullagh. ‘For example, a product demonstration event with the aviation giant Lockheed Martin saw 23 Australian companies shortlisted for the first time on their supply books.

Global investment in renewable energy and cleantech is continuing to rise strongly, bringing more opportunities for smaller and regional firms. ICN’s Cleantech Directory will be at the heart of the industry in Australia.

ICN is Australia and New Zealand’s innovative industry matchmaker. If you’re a major project developer, ICN can put you in contact with the best suppliers. If you’re a supplier we will connect you with the best projects for your business.

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