Regional communities are urging state and territory governments to step up support of large-scale renewable energy projects, following the unveiling of a fifth and final winner of the ACT government’s wind reverse auction.
The Australian Wind Alliance welcomed news 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, the alliance’s national co-ordinator 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.
While the country’s renewables market was still recovering from attacks under the previous government, Mr Bray said 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,” he said.
Mr Bray said the country’s existing wind power fleet, of nearly 4000MW will need to more than double by the end of this decade if the government was to meet its renewable energy target of 23 per cent 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.