Australian Energy Market Operator Report: Wind Energy Best Option for NSW

The Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) have released a new report identifying wind power as the best option for New South Wales to meet it future power needs.

Anna Patty reports for the Sydney Morning Herald:

A report on future power needs in NSW has identified wind energy – which has been publicly derided by the Premier, Barry O’Farrell – as a solution and investment opportunity for NSW.

The Australian Energy Market Operator – an independent company that closely monitors and operates the national electricity network – has released a report that says investment interest is focused on supplying renewable energy such as wind and gas during periods of peak demand on the hottest and coldest days of the year. The report says investors are less interested in base load generation, which provides energy all year round.

The NSW opposition has followed the example of Victorian Labor by taking the Coalition government to task for their anti-wind energy position. According to Labor’s Shadow Minister for Energy Luke Foley:

NSW Shadow Minister for Energy, Luke Foley (Labor)

“…the NSW government’s draft guidelines for new wind farm developments are designed to chronically handicap the expansion of the wind industry in this state,” Mr Foley said.

“The government has also placed prohibitive costs in the way of wind farm developments.”

Mr Foley said the wind industry in NSW had the potential to generate 3000 megawatts of wind energy to help future needs. “According to the Australian Energy Market Commission, new wind energy projects in Victoria facilitated by the renewable energy target will actually deliver lower wholesale electricity price increases than what will be seen in NSW,” he said.

“Rather than attacking wind farms, the O’Farrell government should require its own planning review to come up with a sensible and workable planning regime for the development of the wind industry in NSW.”

Foley is correct to note the need for ‘sensible and workable planning regime’ for the wind energy sector. South of the border, the Baillieu government’s planning guidelines effectively banned wind farms from operating in large swathes of the state. The policy shift has resulted in the collapse of the wind-energy project pipeline. Billions of dollars worth of investment and thousands of jobs are now flowing to South Australia as a result.

A smarter approach for NSW would be for the O’Farrell government adopt a policy that secures investment and jobs from the wind energy sector that have exited Victoria.

In time we’ll know whether Premier O’Farrell and cabinet will put the public interest ahead of the interests of a small, unrepresentative and loud band of anti-wind energy ideologues. For NSW, jobs, investment, lower wholesale electricity prices and crucial renewable energy supplies are at stake.

Support wind energy? Public Submissions for proposed Collector wind farm are now open…

New SouthWales residents can have their say on RATCH-Australia Corporation’s proposal for a $350 million 68-turbine wind farm at Collector. The NSW Department of Planning is taking public submissions on the project until Monday 24 September 2012

The Collector wind farm project would:

  • Generate up to 228 megawatts of zero-carbon electricity—enough to power 80,000 homes annually.
  • Help Australia meet the 2020 Renewable Energy Target.
  • Establish a $200,000 ‘community benefit fund’ once the project is operational.
  • Create approximately 100 jobs during construction and 10 to 15 permanent jobs.

Those interested in commenting on the project can do so in the following ways:

  • Faxed to (02) 9228 6455;
  • Posted to Major Projects Assessment, Department of Planning & Infrastructure, GPO Box 39, Sydney NSW 2001; or,
  • Emailed to
  • Online submissions can be made at the Department of Planning website.

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