Australian Capital Territory

ACT wind power auction attracts 18 proposals

DESPITE industry uncertainty following a review of the national Renewable Energy Target scheme, the ACT Government continues to strive towards its own 90 per cent renewable energy target, with Environment Minister Simon Corbell last week revealing 'keen interest' in the government's wind auction.

Mr Corbell said eighteen proposals, representing a combined capacity of more than 1,000 megawatts, were lodged by the closing date on Wednesday 3 September for the opportunity to share in 200MW of generation capacity to be awarded by reverse auction.

"The strong competition for the feed-in tariff is partly caused by the uncertainty created by the Commonwealth's Renewable Energy Target (RET) review which has hindered other investment in the industry," Mr Corbell said.

"Wind is currently a buyer's market and because of this the ACT can expect lower prices now than if the required investments were deferred to a later time."

As the costs of energy supplied by fossil-fuelled power plants will rise, the feed-in tariff mechanism will mean the costs to ACT electricity customers will decline from the first day of generation in real terms, according to the government.

Under the ACT's 90 per cent renewable energy target, additional wind power investments are expected to meet around 45 per cent percent of Canberra's electricity needs by 2020. It is anticipated the 200MW on offer under this auction process will provide 24 per cent of the ACT's electricity consumption in 2020, or enough to power 80,000 homes.

Once operational from 2016, the new wind capacity will reduce the ACT's greenhouse gas emissions by around 8.5 million tonnes over the first 20 years of operation.

"To put that in context, that figure is about half the emissions associated with electricity usage in each and every Canberra household," Mr Corbell said.

The auction process is being conducted based on the solar auction model used during 2012 and 2013, with the successful proponents granted a feed-in tariff at a fixed rate for 20 years.

Earlier this month, the ACT Government officially opened Fotowatio Renewable Ventures' (FRV) 20MW solar farm near Royalla, approximately 23 kilometres south of Canberra's CBD, which was successful in the 'fast-track stream' of the ACT Government's Solar Auction process.

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