Distant wind farms to power a third of Canberra

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SIMON Corbell says the ACT’s first wind energy reverse auction has resulted in a $50million direct investment into the local economy and broader economic benefits in excess of $240 million.

“The auction has also delivered low renewable energy prices and enough renewable energy to provide for approximately 33% of Canberra’s electricity needs,” Simon said.

“The three successful wind farm projects, including one to be developed by a local Canberra company, are expected to be operational by 2017.

“Combined they will deliver almost 200 megawatts of renewable energy generation capacity for the territory, enough to power 107,000 Canberra homes, and will result in a 580,000 tonne reduction in the ACT’s carbon emissions each year, the equivalent of taking 157,000 cars off the road.

“Today’s announcement delivers the single largest step-change in emissions reductions of any jurisdiction in Australia.

“Through this auction the ACT Government has secured renewable energy at the lowest possible price.

“The pass through cost to consumers for the 200 megawatts is expected to peak at just $1.79 per household per week in 2020 before declining after. This is part of total cost of reaching 90% renewable energy use which is estimated to peak at $4.67 per household per week in 2020 before declining after.”

The successful projects are:

  • The Ararat Wind Farm, an 80.5 megawatt wind farm developed by RES Australia west of Ballarat in Victoria at a feed-in tariff price of $87.00 per megawatt hour
  • The Coonooer Bridge Wind Farm, a 19.4 megawatt wind farm developed by Canberra company Windlab Limited west of Bendigo, Victoria, at a feed-in tariff price of $81.50 per megawatt hour
  • The Hornsdale Wind Farm, a 100 megawatt wind farm developed by Neoen south-east of Port Augusta in South Australia at a feed-in tariff price of $92.00 per megawatt hour.

“The three successful projects will deliver a range of benefits for the ACT through a $50 million economic stimulus package, including new jobs, a new national trades training centre, an innovation fund for small Canberra renewables businesses and a $7 million investment in new courses at the Canberra Institute of Technology and the ANU,” Simon said.

“This is not just about sourcing renewable energy; this project will secure Canberra as the renewable energy capital, providing jobs and economic benefits for all Canberrans.

“Our location, our policies and the expertise of local small businesses and premier research institutions, make the ACT the leading jurisdiction in the nation for renewable investment.

“For example, as Windlab continues to grow in Australia and internationally, so too will Windlab’s Canberra headquarters. Windlab estimates its salaries and on-costs for ACT based staff over the next 20 years will exceed $240 million. This is from a company that was founded in Canberra only 12 years ago.

“Also, Neoen, a multinational company, will grow its investment in Canberra and will make the ACT the headquarters for its Asia-Pacific wind business.”

The 200 megawatt wind auction will deliver approximately 33% of Canberra’s electricity supply from renewable sources by 2017. Together with the 40 megawatts of large-scale solar the territory is investing in, and the existing 44 megawatts of household solar installations, renewables will be powering 80% of all Canberra’s household electricity needs.

The French Ambassador to Australia said he was very pleased to see French company Neoen was successful in the auction.

“The involvement of a French company in this major initiative of the ACT Government, underscores the close relationship between France and Australia in the field of renewable energy and the fight against climate change,” Ambassador Cristophe Lecourtier said.

“Obviously, Neoen’s initiative to establish its Asia-Pacific wind development base in Canberra, is in line with the ACT Government’s goal to reinforce a renewable energy hub in Canberra.”

For more information on the projects visit www.environment.act.gov.au/energy/wind_power

[Photo by Tumbling Run, attribution licence]

UPDATE: The Liberals’ Nicole Lawder is not impressed:

The ACT government’s wind farm power deal will contribute to rising energy costs for Canberrans who are already struggling with an increasing cost of living, Shadow Minister for Environment Nicole Lawder said today.

“Simon Corbell’s announcement to provide 33 percent of Canberra’s electricity from wind farms will lead to a $93 per year increase in power bills.

It’s unfair to be lumping this burden on Canberra families which are already struggling with cost of living,” Ms Lawder said.

“As ACT Labor proceeds with its 90 percent renewable energy target, Canberrans can expect to see more and more of these cost increases. The government needs to prioritise cost of living issues for Canberrans.

“The Canberra Liberals are committed to addressing cost of living issues and will balance that with sound environmental practice. Simon Corbell should take a step back and realise the impost he’s placing on families who will be forced to bear the brunt of his actions,” Ms Lawder concluded.

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