Canberra to source wind energy from NSW farms

The Australian Capital Territory Government has announced it is seeking to buy as much as a quarter of Canberra’s power from wind farms in neighbouring New South Wales.

Specifically, the Government hopes 200MW of power can be sourced from wind farms to supply 80,000 Canberra homes by 2020.

It is the next step in the Government’s renewable energy push, and comes after its announcement of new 50-megawatt next-generation solar farm in early March.

Environment Minister Simon Corbell told ABC News reverse auctions will be held to obtain the lowest price for 20-year supply contracts, from at least two companies.

“The 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,” he said.

“This is about half of all emissions associated with residential electricity use.”

The auction will be open to generators in the capital region, such as those currently planned for, or under construction, near Bungendore, Crookwell and Collector.

Wind farms further afield can also bid, however, they must be committed to investing in the region and backing local employment and research.

“Because of the Commonwealth Renewable Energy Target review, wind is currently a buyer’s market,” Mr Corbell said, as reported by ABC News.

“By moving quickly, the ACT can expect lower prices now than if we were to defer the required investments to a later time.”

The Government has a target of generating 90 per cent of Canberra’s energy from renewable sources by 2020.

The wind auction is expected to cost households $1.30 per week.

Three solar farm projects are already planned for the ACT at the 13MW Mugga Lane, 10MW Uriarra and the 20MW Royalla solar farm at Tuggeranong, which is currently under construction. When complete, the three farms will generate a total of 40MW of power using photovoltaic cell technology.