Wind to provide a quarter of ACT power

WIND power will become the centrepiece of the ACT Government’s plan to meet its bold renewable energy target of 90 per cent by 2020.

Simon Corbell

Simon Corbell

Later this year the Government plans to run a reverse auction, making wind power generators compete to sell up to 200 megawatts (MW) of electricity to power homes in the Territory.

Environment and Sustainable Development minister Simon Corbell announced the new plan at 11am today as he opened the second Regional Renewable Energy Business Forum.

“This is the largest step taken by the ACT Government to date to meet the 90 per cent renewable energy target by 2020,” Mr Corbell says in a statement issued this afternoon.

“This wind auction will abate around half a million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions per annum, and will generate about a quarter of Canberra’s electricity needs. This is approximately half of all emissions associated with residential electricity use.”

The 200MW of wind power could make up about 40 per cent of what is required to meet the renewable energy target of 90 per cent by 2020, and provide almost a quarter of the Territory’s electricity consumption.

The cost of subsidising it is likely to be about $1.30 per household per week, the minister says, which is included in the previously announced $4-a-week cost of achieving the ACT’s renewable energy target and offset for some households by savings from the Government’s energy efficiency policies.

Mr Corbell argues that now is the time to take advantage of a buyer’s market for wind power, which he attributed to the effect of the Commonwealth Government’s Renewable Energy Target review.

“The wind auction will be open to generators within the Australian Capital Region, but also to generators further afield in circumstances where they demonstrate exceptional local economic development benefits and competitive pricing,” says Mr Corbell.

“Opening up the wind auction to a geographically broader base means more competition, more innovation and potentially lower prices. But the conditions on broader participation mean this cannot be at the expense of local jobs.”

Proposals for the wind farms to power Canberra, which will be located in the surrounding parts of NSW, will need to demonstrate a track record of having positively engaged with local communities.

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