The wind energy sector stands ready to deliver thousands of jobs and billions of dollars in investment to the Australian economy if the Renewable Energy Target is left alone to do its job, the Clean Energy Council said to mark Global Wind Day.
Clean Energy Council Policy Director Russell Marsh said that while China continued to lead the world in the installation of wind power, Australia‚Äôs wind sector had the potential to deliver significant benefits to the economy.
‚ÄúFor the first time last year, China invested more in clean energy such as wind and solar than it did in traditional energy such as coal and gas. There are 24 countries that have now installed more than 1000 megawatts of wind power, with China, the United States, Germany, Spain, India and the UK leading the way,‚Äù Mr Marsh said.
‚ÄúAustralia is currently middle of the pack, with 3240 megawatts installed ‚Äì translating to 1639 turbines across 68 wind farms. Analysis by Frontier Economics for the UK Government in 2013 found that Australia had some of the lowest rates of government support for wind power of anywhere in the world.
‚ÄúMore than US$80 billion was invested in wind power across the globe last year, and the future for the local industry is bright if the Renewable Energy Target is left largely alone following the current review of the policy,‚Äù he said.
Analysis by ROAM Consulting for the CEC recently estimated that under current policy settlings another $14.5 billion in investment in large-scale renewable energy projects would be generated during the rest of the Renewable Energy Target ‚Äì between $2-4 billion per year between now and the end of the decade.
Mr Marsh said wind farms currently approved across the country had the potential to deliver up to 6600 one-year construction contract jobs, more than 680 ongoing jobs, and up to $34 million to host landholders each year.
‚ÄúWorkers involved in these projects would also spend up to $3.4 million per year in the local community on things like restaurants, accommodation, general supplies and services.
‚ÄúThe majority of Australians support wind power, but it has never been more important for wind farm companies to engage in good faith with people living in the vicinity of wind power projects.
‚ÄúThis is why the Clean Energy Council has developed best practice community engagement guidelines for wind farms as well as a community expectations guide ‚Äì to help raise the bar and promote a consistently high standard across the industry,‚Äù he said.
Please contact Clean Energy Council Media Manager Mark Bretherton on 0413 556 981 for more information or to arrange an interview.