VIC generation licence approvals surge in past eight months

Turbine components on their way to Bulgana Green Power Hub

The number of energy generation licences approved in Victoria has surged in the past eight months.

According to the Essential Services Commission’s latest energy market report (PDF), nine electricity generation licences were granted between July 2018 and February 2019. In comparison, between July 2017 and February 2018 three were approved.  

The licences were granted to renewable generators including large-scale wind and solar farms, and the first-ever large-scale battery system.

Commission energy director Sarah McDowell says renewable energy is growing in Victoria.

“It is the first time large scale battery systems have been licensed to generate electricity in Victoria, with the latest data showing a significant increase in renewable energy in the state,” she said.

“Since July last year we have licensed around 1100 megawatts of generation capacity, which is enough to power around 226,000 households.”

Related article: First turbines on their way to Bulgana Green Power Hub

Despite growing generation, Ms McDowell says the consumer experience has not improved significantly over the past year.

Energy debt remains high, with the average customer in a hardship program $1456 in debt. Customers in hardship programs have increased by eight per cent, while disconnections have fallen.

Between July and December 2018, retailers had wrongfully disconnected 291 customers, with payments totalling $432,225. The commission had resolved 16 wrongful disconnection payment cases referred by the Energy and Water Ombudsman Victoria – nine of which were found wrongful. A further 13 disconnections were withdrawn and conceded by the retailer.

From January 1, 2019, customers were given stronger protections from their energy retailer with a new payment difficulty framework now coming into effect.

Electricity generation licences for the financial year 2018-19 (to date)

ApplicantType of licenceCapacity (MW)Issued date
LMS Energy Pty LtdGeneration23.7 (multiple sites)06/02/2019
Pacific Hydro Crowlands Wind Farm Pty LtdGeneration8012/09/2018
Iraak Sun Farm Pty LtdGeneration112.527/08/2018
GESS ProjectCo Pty LtdGeneration2508/08/2018
Wemen Asset Co Pty LtdGeneration87.504/10/2018
Murra Warra Project Co PtyGeneration22613/02/2019
Bulgana Wind Farm Pty LtdGeneration194 – wind20-battery27/02/2019
Nurmurkah Solar Farm Pty LtdGeneration10027/02/2019
Lal Lal Wind Farms Noms Pty LtdGeneration22813/03/2019

Related article:Onslow microgrid project stage two underway