July 25 - The Port of Newcastle has welcomed the first shipment of wind turbine components bound for the Sapphire Wind Farm, which it claims will be the largest wind turbines to be imported into Australia.

The CWP Renewables development will see eight shipments arrive over nine months for the 270 MW facility, located in the New England Tablelands plateau in New South Wales. According to the Port of Newcastle, the facility will be Australia's tallest and second-largest wind farm.

The first shipment on board ABC Maritime's multipurpose vessel Helvetia, delivered the first of the turbine tower sections, which when combined will measure 136 m long.

The turbines will be stored at the port's Mayfield Site and will be transported by truck to Glen Innes.

"Our berth-side storage is a huge advantage to our customers, as it removes a step from the supply chain and offers greater efficiency and cost savings," said Geoff Crow, ceo at the Port of Newcastle. "For example, we have imported and stored 70 turbines over the last nine months for another wind farm development which allowed for optimum staging of the project."

The following shipments will carry other turbine components as well as the 63 m long blades, with construction expected to begin later this year.

According to Barnaby Joyce, deputy prime minister and member for New England, the Sapphire Wind Farm, along with other solar and wind projects in the Glen Innes and Inverell area, bring the renewable energy investment in the local area to more than AUD1 billion (USD792.6 million).