Almost 50,000 homes in Canberra will be powered by renewable energy thanks to a new wind farm contract awarded by the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) Government. The Sapphire Wind Farm, coming up near Glenn Innes in northern New South Wales will be generating electricity with its 32 wind turbines.

The farm will be built by a consortium of Japanese, French and United States firms. The ACT government is expecting the project to be complete by 2018 and add 80 percent of  ACT’s power from renewable sources, reports The ABC.

The Government’s target is to have 90 percent of the power from renewable energy  sources by 2020. According to ACT Environment Minister Simon Corbell, the new project would benefit all Canberrans as well as create more jobs in the local economy.

“Sapphire has been awarded a feed-in-tariff of $89.10 per megawatt hour for 100 megawatt capacity,” he said.

According to the minister, the project is more than a renewable energy project and can power many high-growth industries in Canberra that will diversify the economy.

Meanwhile, Victoria’s Coonooer Bridge wind farm has started production with the distinction of being the cheapest wind energy in Australia. It was one of the early wind farm projects of the ACT government. Coonooer Bridge has been able to tap the best wind resources at its Bendigo location.

Environment minister Simon Corbell said the wind farm currently exports 6MW of energy and would reach its peak capacity of 20MW by end of March, reports Renew Economy.

“Coonooer Bridge is an important milestone in the ACT Government’s commitment to 90 per cent renewable energy for the ACT,” Corbell said.

Its promoter, Windlab, is a Canberra-based spin-off from the CSIRO’s wind research unit. “The project is expected to generate enough renewable energy to power 14,000 homes and reduce carbon emissions by over 80,000 tonnes per annum,” said Windlab project manager Matthew Parton.