Australia‚Äôs 20 per cent by 2020 Renewable Energy Target (RET) is currently under review by the Federal Government, which could have a significant impact on the country‚Äôs wind industry. The RET is the single most important policy measure for the Australian renewables sector, having generated $18.5 billion of investment and created thousands of jobs, many in the wind sector, since its introduction in 2001.
The Clean Energy Council is campaigning to protect the RET in its current form during this review in order to maintain a stable policy and investment environment, a view that is shared by major energy generators, the Australian Industry Group (representing over 60,000 businesses) and other large corporate stakeholders including superannuation funds. Some groups, including the Australian Coal Association and some energy retailers, have called for the RET to be reduced or scrapped.
The Clean Energy Council sent a submission to the RET review issues paper, which is available online here.
The RET review is due to be completed by 31 December 2012.
State government updates
At the state government level, New South Wales will release updated wind energy guidelines soon. In South Australia, a ministerial decision is also due soon on a Development Plan Amendment to reduce third party appeal rights in areas where wind farms are included in the planning overlay for the region.
Australian Energy Technology Assessment
The Bureau of Resources and Energy Economics (BREE) released their Australian Energy Technology Assessment 2012 report in July. It contains levelised cost of energy figures for a range of 40 different energy technologies including wind. The report found that landfill gas is the cheapest technology at the moment, with wind and solar close behind and predicted to overtake and become the cheapest generation sources by 2030. For more information visit www.bree.gov.au/publications/aeta.html
South Australia generates serious wind power
The southern states of Australia experienced some particularly windy weather in August and September, with output from wind farms skyrocketing as a result. On Wednesday 5 September wind power provided more than half of South Australia‚Äôs power for the entire day, with a peak of 80 per cent during the early morning. Almost a quarter of South Australia‚Äôs electricity was generated by wind farms in the 2011-12 financial year, leading to a corresponding drop in coal and gas-fired power generation, according to data provided to the CEC.¬†In fact, emissions from South Australia‚Äôs energy sector have fallen every year since 2005-06 and reduced by more than 27 per cent over the last five years.
Wind and wildlife conference
Australia will hold its first Wind and Wildlife Conference in October at the Melbourne Zoo in Victoria. The conference will specifically cover the assessment and management of birds and bats at wind farms. It will bring together the finest expertise in Australia and aims to develop consistencies in research and management as well as providing an excellent opportunity for information sharing and networking.
For more information visit www.windandwildlife.com.au/2012
¬†Run with the wind fun run
On 11 November there will be a fun run among the wind turbines at the Woodlawn Wind Farm in New South Wales. Starting in the valley, the run course makes the ascent up onto the Woodlawn range and past the first turbine, where the track meanders along the ridgeline among the wind turbines before descending back down the range to the finish line.
The event features 5 km and 8 km distances and is open to competitors of all ages and abilities.
For more information visit runwiththewind.com.au/run-with-the-wind