Farmers and regional communities call for others to follow ACT's lead on wind
4th March 2016
It’s time for state and territory governments to step up support of large-scale renewable energy projects in Australia, following the unveiling of a fifth and final winner of the ACT government’s wind reverse auction.
The Australian Wind Alliance welcomed news that CWP Renewable's Sapphire Wind Farm, in north-eastern New South Wales, will provide enough power for more than 48,000 Canberra homes and deliver $100 million in economic benefits to the ACT.
However, Alliance national coordinator Andrew Bray said other voters, farmers and regional communities around the country were missing out.
“Farmers and businesses in wind districts across regional Australia are impatiently waiting for the economic boost that wind projects provide and voters, who consistently endorse renewable energy in opinion polls, want to see all levels of government getting on with it,” Mr Bray said.
He said while the country’s renewables market was still recovering from attacks under the previous Abbott-led government, state and territory governments were playing an important role in kick-starting new wind farm projects.
“Wind is the cheapest, new form of electricity generation – renewable or otherwise. Australia must embrace wind power if we are to keep pace with the shift in the world energy economy,” Mr Bray said.
Mr Bray said the country’s existing wind power fleet, of nearly 4000 megawatts will need to more than double by the end of this decade if the government was to meet its renewable energy target of 23 percent by 2020.
Sapphire Wind Farm has been awarded a feed-in-tariff of $89.10 per mW/h for 100mW capacity. The company will spend $34 million on developing an ACT-based asset and operations management centre, relocating operations from Newcastle. The wind farm is due for completion in April 2018.
Wind power facts and figures:
- In December, the ACT announced the lowest-known contract price in renewables of $77 a megawatt hour from the Neoen Hornsdale project in South Australia.
- This week, Victoria’s Coonooer Bridge wind farm began producing the country’s cheapest wind energy.
- ACT is on track to be sourcing more than 80 percent of its energy needs from renewable sources.
- The ACT government’s wind and solar auctions and federal government agencies (Australian Renewable Energy Agency and the Clean Energy Finance Corporation) have delivered a material but limited number of projects. Beyond these, just $15 million has been invested since February 2014 on big wind, solar or other clean energy projects. In 2013, that figure was $2 billion.