Epuron claims Abbott Government against wind energy, ABC News By Melinda Hayter 20 Jan 15 Renewable energy company, Epuron, claims federal government inaction on the Renewable Energy Target (RET) has Australians paying more for electricity than they should be.
An independent review into the target, which attracted more than 24,000 submissions, was released in August but the government is yet to release its response.
The New South Wales Greens recently cited a report which showed an 88 per cent reduction in investment in the renewable energy sector nationally last year.
Project Manager with Epuron, Donna Bolton, says banks remain wary of lending money to industry players, despite the review’s findings. “The review found that while there was a marginal increase in the cost of household electricity initially, the RET in its current state would actually bring electricity prices down,” she said.
“Despite this there’s been no action.
Epuron has windfarm interests in a number of areas of New South Wales, including the South West Slopes.
Ms Bolton says the government’s inaction has caused the industry to stall.
“It’s very difficult because it’s all about investment confidence,” she said.
“A bank looking to lend $400m, you need to know that that investment is rock solid, that the mechanisms behind it will stay in place and that your return on investment is reasonably secure.
“For some reason there is a lot of resistance, for particularly wind energy, in the current federal government, Ms Bolton said……“I believe the Abbott Government is firm in its belief that it wants to develop the coal industry to the maximum before that gate closes,” she said…..http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-01-20/ret-comment/6026696
ACT wind energy auction: And the winners are …. REneweconomy, By Giles Parkinson on 14 January 2015 The ACT government’s wind energy auction has thrown up some surprising winners, and none of the planned 200MW of wind turbines will be built within a bull’s roar of the nation’s capital, if market intelligence is correct. The ACT government advised the winning tenderers of their success just before Christmas, and have until early February to prove that they have the finance in place to build the projects.
The winners have not been publicly announced, and will be kept confidential. But through a process of elimination – i.e. by crossing out those among the 18 project tenders who concede they didn’t make it, there are three likely winners.
They are the Hornsdale wind project in South Australia – regarded as the country’s most prospective wind project because of its excellent wind resources. Industry estimates suggest that the project could be a go-er with a tariff of around $80/MWh…………
The second winner is thought to the small Coonooer Bridge wind project in Victoria. This is owned by Windlab, a spinoff of CSIRO which is based in Canberra. Coonoer is likely to be just 18MW, but will also likely have a level of community ownership through an innovative structure that we discussed here.
The third project is less certain but is thought to be the Ararat project owned by RES, also based in Victoria. It is also bidding for less than half of its nominated capacity of more than 220MW.
The ACT wind energy auction is important to the wind industry in Australia because the sector has been at a standstill for nearly two years. According to Bloomberg New Energy Finance, no new wind projects were financed in Australia in 2014 because of the Federal government’s attempts to nobble the renewable energy target.
That helped cause an 88 per cent slump in large scale clean energy investment, and pushed Australia down from 11th position to 39th in the world, below Myanmar and Honduras. For some international investors, the ACT auction was considered to be the last hope in Australia, given the uncertainty that continues around the RET.
Contrary to the federal government, which sees its future in coal, the ACT government hopes to source 90 per cent of its electricity needs from renewable energy sources by 2020. It will do this through a series of auctions – 40MW of large scale solar already completed, an initial run of 200MW of wind, and around 50MW of other large scale solar projects including storage, and 23MW of waste-to-energy projects.
The ACT government raised the prospect of winning tenders going to other states if the price was cheaper, although it did profess to have a strong “local content” component of the tender………….http://reneweconomy.com.au/2015/act-wind-energy-auction-and-the-winners-are-25695
“I’m glad that we will no longer be lending legitimacy to an organisation that may be harming people in an effort to undermine an important source of clean and renewable energy.”……..
Simon Chapman, a professor of public health at Sydney University, said the foundation had “made it their business” to spread fear and mistrust of wind turbines……..
The Waubra foundation is named after the Victorian town of Waubra, which has become a hub for wind-powered energy, with 128 turbines in the area.
Many of the town’s inhabitants have distanced themselves from the group, and called on it to remove the town’s name from its title…….http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/dec/19/removal-of-anti-windfarm-groups-charity-status-is-a-victory-for-science
“This plant confirms South Australia’s commitment to being the nation’s leader when it comes to providing efficient renewable wind energy programs. It is a key platform in our plan for renewable energy to supply 50 per cent of the state’s annual power by 2025,”
South Australia’s 270MW Snowtown takes wind energy to new highs http://reneweconomy.com.au/2014/south-australias-270mw-snowtown-takes-wind-energy-to-new-highs-43971 By Sophie Vorrath on 3 November 2014
The $450 million addition of 90 turbines increases the farm’s capacity from Sunday by 1350 gigawatt hours a year, enough to power 230,000 homes.
The wind farm in the state’s mid-north is now the largest in the state, the government says.
The Premier has also warned projects such as the Snowtown wind farm are at risk if the federal government scaled back the Renewable Energy Target.
Mr Weatherill told media the project is creating ‘a new future for this region in South Australia’, but a scaling back of the RET would see large scale renewable initiatives become unviable.
King Island’s wind farm fate closes in http://www.themercury.com.au/king-islands-wind-farm-fate-closes-in/story-fnj3twbb-1227095516599 HELEN KEMPTON MERCURY OCTOBER 20, 2014
THE King Island community should know by early next year if their remote Bass Strait home will also become home to the biggest wind farm in the southern hemisphere.
Hydro Tasmania has almost completed a feasibility study into its $2 billion, 200-turbine proposal and is expected to announce early next year if the project will go ahead.
The decision also hinges on the Federal Government not scrapping the Renewable Energy Target. Hydro Tasmania is one of 16 major renewable energy companies who have argued for the retention of the present RET.
The TasWind project is forecast to pump more than $7 million a year into the island economy and provide an estimated $220 million annual revenue boost to the state’s coffers.
Debate over the pros and cons of the proposal has divided the small community and Hydro Tasmania started its feasibility study after 58 per cent of residents indicated they wanted to move on to the assessment stage.
Renewable Energy Target review leaves wind power in doldrums: Senvion http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/climate/renewable-energy-target-review-leaves-wind-power-in-doldrums-senvion/story-e6frg6xf-1227074429666 THE AUSTRALIAN SEPTEMBER 30, 2014 A $1.5 BILLION wind farm, slated to be the largest in Australia, is at risk from potential changes to the national Renewable Energy Target, the proponent says.
Senvion Australia chief executive Chris Judd said the 197-turbine Ceres wind farm proposed for the Yorke Peninsula would be jeopardised if the federal government adopted changes proposed in the Warburton review.
The Abbott government is yet to finalise its response to the RET review overseen by businessman Dick Warburton, which recommended either closing the program to new entrants or moving to a demand-limited scheme that was reviewed each year.
A spokesman for Environment Minister Greg Hunt said the government would not make any changes that would adversely affect companies that had already invested in the sector.
Mr Judd said if changes removed the revenue stream for renewable energy, significant investment would be at risk. “We are still progressing with the project, but there is a cloud over it in regards to the Renewable Energy Target policy. We need the policy framework to be able to create an investment environment where people would view investment in renewable energy favourably.
“There is no logic in what has been put forward to make the case for change — the review confirms that the policy is working, creating jobs and lowering emissions.”
The wind-farm project, which will underpin 500 jobs, is among $4.5bn worth of investment in South Australia that Premier Jay Weatherill says is stalled as a result of the federal review.
“We have billions of dollars worth of investment queuing up waiting to occur, but it is stalled because the commonwealth government in an extraordinary act has decided to review the Renewable Energy Target,’’ he said.
Mr Hunt’s spokesman said the government was not scrapping the RET. “The government will not make changes that will impact those who have already made an investment — small or large — under the RET,” he said.
Brad Davy, a Senvion technician, said the Snowtown wind farm 150km north of Adelaide had supported many local jobs. “It’s been good for everyone, “ he said.
VCAT approves Berrimal Wind Farm changes http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-09-15/vcat-approves-berrimal-wind-farm-changes/5743290 15 Sep 2014,
Victoria’s planning tribunal has given the green light to changes to a renewable energy company’s plans for a 24-turbine wind farm in the Buloke Shire.
Acciona’s Berrimal Wind Farm had the support of the Buloke Shire but needed approval from the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) to make the amendments to its original planning permit.
The project is located between Wedderburn and St Arnaud and is expected to generate 72 megawatts of electricity.
Buloke Shire’s chief executive officer, John Hicks, says the $150 million project will benefit the municipality in a number of ways.
“That will provide six ongoing jobs for maintenance and looking after the turbines, plus the economic development that’s available to other people in the shire because of the added business,” he said.
“There’s also the benefits of rates coming into the shire which relieves the burden on other ratepayers.”
However, Acciona says all its projects, including the Berrimal Wind Farm, are on hold because of the uncertainty caused by the Federal Government’s review of the Renewable Energy Target.
WA farmer living amongst wind turbines backs keeping Renewable Energy Target 7 NEWS BY CLAIRE MOODIESeptember 14, 2014 Living amongst 15 massive wind turbines might not be everyone’s idea of paradise, but West Australian Mid West farmer Bruce Garratt believes he is investing in the future.
Eight years ago, he agreed to accommodate the turbines as part of WA’s first privately-built wind farm, south of Geraldton, and is still enjoying the serenity.
“People tell me how noisy they are, people tell me how they affect your health,” he said. “I’ve had lots of people tell me different things that honestly, unless they have lived on a wind farm, they don’t really know what they are talking about.”
Mr Garratt, who manages cattle and crops on his 2,000 acre property, said the turbines — part of the Alinta Walkaway Wind Farm — provided an additional passive income, as well as a sense of purpose.
“No-one in their right mind could put up an argument and say that wind turbines aren’t of benefit,” he said. “They’re not producing C02.”
Mr Garratt is critical of the recent Warburton review that recommended either closing the Renewable Energy Target (RET) to new entrants or scaling it back…….
Coal-fired generators the winners: wind farm owner
Residents fighting Jupiter wind farm plan Canberra protest, Canberra Times September 15, 2014 Land owners in communities along the Goulburn-Braidwood Road are continuing their self-described “David and Goliath battle” to stop a $400 million wind farm development proposed for 12,000 hectares in the area.
The Residents Against Jupiter Wind Turbines group last week said progress was being made in the fight, after another community meeting at Tarago and contact with Goulburn MP and planning Minister Pru Goward.
Planning is underway for a demonstration outside the ACT Legislative Assembly on Tuesday as group members want territory residents to know the local impact of some renewable energy sources.
An Australian-Spanish joint venture is developing the 110 turbine wind farm on the properties of 25 landholders. The individual turbines are set to be more than 110 metres high, with three 63-metre rotor blades, near small towns at Lake Bathurst, Tarago, Mayfield, Boro, Mount Fairy and Manar.
Group spokesman Michael Crawford said many of the residents were current and former Commonwealth and state public servants who had migrated to the area, east of Goulburn, and were desperate to preserve their rural setting……..
The group believes the state’s wind farm development guidelines are inadequate, and fail to take full account of impacts including noise, visual changes, sleep and health effects and property values…..
The company has several proposed wind farm projects in New South Wales and Victoria.
A new wind generated power benchmark for July was also set across the entire National Electricity Market (NEM) according to the Clean Energy Council (CEC) – around 6 percent.
“Australia’s wind farms were working overtime in the cold conditions during July. South Australia comfortably powered ahead to set a new wind power record, helped by a bit of extra renewable grunt from the new Snowtown II wind farm,” said CEC Acting Chief Executive Kane Thornton.
“With more than 40 per cent of the state’s power demand provided by wind energy for the entire month, it is clear that large amounts of renewable energy can be added to the system without the need for extra backup generation to be built.”
Mr. Thornton stated more than $5 billion of wind power investment had poured into South Australia in the last decade, creating hundreds of greatly-needed jobs and providing the state with a low-cost, cleaner power supply……… http://www.energymatters.com.au/index.php?main_page=news_article&article_id=4439
Wind companies question planning office response ENERGY companies will be allowed to make minor changes to wind farm planning permits from next month. Weekly Times 22 July 14, The move — which will pave the way for up to 964 turbines to be built across the state creating up to 2376 megawatts of wind energy — has been labelled a “change of heart” by Greens leader Greg Barber.
Planning Minister Matthew Guy said “we’re making a small adjustment to the planning scheme to allow existing wind farm planning permits to be amended, which may assist with upgrading turbine technology”……….http://www.weeklytimesnow.com.au/news/politics/wind-companies-question-planning-office-response/story-fnkerdda-1226997709510
Big savings from renewable energy target but consumers miss out, SMH July 2, 2014 Peter Hannam Environment Editor, The Sydney Morning Herald While Prime Minister Tony Abbott says renewable energy significantly increase electricity bills, a new study finds wind energy actually forced down wholesale power prices by more than $3.2 billion over six years – but that little of the savings flowed through to consumers. Mr Abbott on Tuesday said the renewable energy target, which has largely driven investment in wind farms, was ”very significantly driving up power prices”.
”It’s precisely the opposite,” John Foster, one of the authors of the study that has been submitted to a review of the target, said. “The [target] – and the stimulation of wind – has increased supply and flattened out the expensive peaks.”
For instance, modelling of 30 minutes of heavy demand for electricity in Victoria on January 31, 2011 showed the wholesale price of $1.4 million would have ballooned to $45.6 million had only coal and gas-fired power plants had been able to respond.
Mr Abbott’s statement has been interpreted as signalling his government may weaken or scrap the target requiring at least 20 per cent of power from renewable sources once a review into the scheme is complete………
Once other costs including the purchase of renewable energy certificates were taken out, the target delivered a net benefit of $870 million from 2007 to 2012, the study found.
Little of that benefit reached consumers, though, with a lack of transparency masking just how much retailers snagged of the gains, Ms Molyneaux said. “We don’t see evidence of consumer prices going down.”
Debate over the target is expected to intensify with coal baron Clive Palmer saying last week his party will use its balance of power in the new Senate to preserve the existing target – now set at 41,000 gigawatt-hours of renewable energy by 2020 – until at least 2016, whatever the recommendations of the government’s hand-picked review panel………
Among the states, Victoria was the biggest beneficiary, snaring $2.37 billion of the $3.2 billion in wholesale savings. It hosts the second-largest wind turbine capacity of the states and can tap the largest – in South Australia – because of good transmission connections, the researchers said.
NSW lagged with only $136 million in wholesale savings because of its modest wind farm presence, while wind farm-free Queensland had barely any savings at all.
By 2012, wind farms were also responsible for reducing carbon emissions at the rate of 4 million tonnes a year, the study said.
Separately, the latest Cedex report by energy consultants Pitt & Sherry found carbon emissions from the National Electricity Market fell 10.4 per cent, or 18 million tonnes, in the two years of the carbon tax.
A fall in electricity demand contributed part of the drop, as did a switch to more wind and hydro electricity. Coal supplied 73 per cent of the power to the National Electricity Market – which serves eastern Australia – a year to the end of June, almost certainly a record low, according to Hugh Saddler, principal consultant with Pitt & Sherry. Gas supplied 12.7 per cent, hydro 9.6 per cent and wind 4.7 per cent.
Windy conditions over the past week saw wind farms supply 14.5 per cent of the generation in NSW, South Australia, Tasmania and Victoria from Monday to Saturday.
At 4.25am on Friday, South Australia’s wind generation exceeded demand in the state for the first time, according to Infigen Energy, a wind farm operator.
”The greatest significance of these figures is probably the demonstration that the [market] is sufficiently robust to be able to accommodate such large shares of wind generation, with no effect on the supply of electricity to consumers,” the report said. http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/big-savings-from-renewable-energy-target-but-consumers-miss-out-20140702-zstn1.html#ixzz36XYUb9LS
Farmers, activists warn against reducing renewable energy target on Global Wind Energy Day http://www.smh.com.au/environment/climate-change/farmers-activists-warn-against-reducing-renewable-energy-target-on-global-wind-energy-day-20140615-zs8ix.html June 16, 2014 Markus Mannheim Public service editor Over the years, Boorowa grazier Paul Magee watched each of his five children become adults and leave the family farm to find work.
For him and his wife, Lynette, the opportunity to host wind turbines on their 700-hectare property, about 110 kilometres north of Canberra, may have come a little too late.
But the lamb farmer hopes the growing wind-energy industry will help lure young people back to the bush, and says the federal government must maintain its backing for renewable energy. “There is a possibility that one [of my children] could move back here and help to improve the farm and make it more productive – if the renewable energy target is not changed,” Mr Magee told a rally of activists outside Parliament House on Sunday, Global Wind Energy Day.
“There is a further possibility that others … may gain employment in the area. The economic benefits would help stop the drift to larger cities.”
A review of the so-called RET – an aim for 20 per cent of the nation’s electricity to come from renewable sources by 2020 – is due to be completed shortly, amid fears the Abbott government will reduce the target or scrap it entirely.
Last month, Treasurer Joe Hockey launched an unprompted attack on windfarms near Lake George, just outside the ACT, telling conservative radio commentator Alan Jones he found them “utterly offensive” and “a blight on the landscape”. Climate activists have also noted that the RET review’s leader, former Caltex chairman Dick Warburton, and other panel members have close links to the fossil-fuel industry.
Mr Magee said he could not understand the Treasurer’s view. “It could be argued that the very same four-lane freeway he was travelling on is more offensive and a bigger blight on the landscape, and indeed the urban development that has ruined the north shore of Sydney,” he said, referring to Mr Hockey’s electorate.
Small groups of residents near windfarms occasionally oppose the industry, saying turbines are noisy and reduce rural property prices.
However, NSW government polling in 2010 found almost nine in 10 residents in the region near the ACT border supported windfarms, including 61 per cent of people who lived one to two kilometres away from turbines.
Regardless of what happens to the federal RET scheme, ACT Environment Minister Simon Corbell told the rally that Canberra would maintain the nation’s most ambitious renewable energy policy: 90 per cent of the ACT’s electricity would be sourced from renewable energy by 2020.
He also noted that the Royalla solar farm – the largest in Australia – was just a few months’ away from being commissioned.
“The sad thing about that project is that it’s only 20 megawatts. When you look at renewable energy and solar energy around the world, you see that so many nations are investing in schemes and in projects that are in the hundreds of megawatts.
“In a country like Australia, we should be doing the same.”
Sunday’s rally preceded the 2014 Community Energy Congress, which will be held on Monday and Tuesday at the National Library. About 300 delegates are expected to attend from across Australia and overseas.
Renewable Energy Target review sparks fears for wind farm http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-06-11/renewable-energy-target-review-sparks-fears-for/5514354 11 Jun 2014, Investors in Australia’s first community-owned wind farm near Daylesford say the venture could fail, if changes are made to the Renewable Energy Target. The Federal Government has ordered a review into the pledge of producing 20 per cent of power from renewable sources by 2020. People involved in the Hepburn Wind project met members of the review panel in Daylesford yesterday. Hepburn Wind’s founding chairman, Simon Holmes Court, says scrapping the target would cost locals thousands of dollars. “I can’t sugar-coat it – the project will not be able to continue in its current form,” he said. Hepburn has operated turbines since 2011. Director David Perry says the cost would not just be financial. “Perhaps the most painful thing would be to have all that time and passion over the years lost,” he said. The panel toured the wind farm and congratulated Hepburn Wind on its work.