Graph of the Day: Australian wind farm projects at risk

Published by RenewEconomy. View original article.

This is a graph that makes wind farm developers anxious. It was produced in a presentation made by senior AGL Energy executives in late May, and illustrates what would happen to the wind energy market if changes to the renewable energy target were made.

Under the current target, which requires 41,000GWh of large scale renewable energy to be delivered by 2020, some 90 per cent of known wind energy projects would be developed (it does not include Western Australia or Tasmania) – presuming of course that wind energy holds its current cost advantage over solar.

In any case, if the target was modified –  to a target that reflects 20 per cent of actual (or forecast) demand – as the likes of Origin Energy and EnergyAustralia demand-  then only 50 per cent of the projects in the pipeline would be developed (depending once again on the rival cost of solar).

Even AGL Energy’s flagship development, the 250MW first stage of the Silverton wind farm, which according to its data is the cheapest of all wind farm developments, has been put on hold pending clarity about the fate of the target, which as our main story today reports, is under threat if the Coalition wins office. That underlines the level of uncertainty that has brought the industry to an effective halt.

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AGL Energy notes that it has enough renewable energy certificates to meet its commitments for around 5 years – courtesy of the surplus of certificates created from the first years of the rooftop solar boom. That excess put many wind projects on hold, and now that is being repeated because of uncertainty about regulatory and political stability.

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