The wind and solar projects that would disappear along with RET

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The wind and solar projects that Australia may never see because of Abbott government’s attack on the RET.

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There has been much talk from the ranks of the Abbott government about how much the RET and other renewable energy subsidies are costing Australia and its people. But what about the cost of scrapping the RET?

Ever since it became clear that the Abbott’s ultra-conservative Coalition would win government and revisit Australia’s bipartisan renewable energy target of 41,000GWh, the industry has been at a standstill for large-scale developers.

Households have continued to invest in rooftop solar, at a rate of more than 15,000 per month, even after the removal of feed-in tariffs and the erection of other obstacles, such as refused connections and higher network charges.

But “big wind” and “big solar” have hit a wall, because they rely on financing from banks and off-take agreements with utilities. Without clarity over the future of the target, and with the incumbent coal generators exerting huge pressure on the Abbott government to bring the program to a halt, or to scale it back by more than half, financing and off-takes have been impossible to secure.

That has been successful. Apart from a handful of projects with direct funding from the Clean Energy Finance Corporation and the Australian Renewable Energy Agency, a pipeline of more than $20 billion of projects has remained moribund.

This extends from projects such as the $1.5 billion Ceres wind project in South Australia, a 400MW solar project in Kilcoy, a network of solar farms spread across key regional centres in western NSW, and countless smaller, community-scale projects that are being considered across the country.

RenewEconomy, with the help of the Clean Energy Council and its own contacts in the industry, has put together the following list of projects at risk from the government’s campaign against renewables.

We are not saying that all of these projects would have gone ahead, because they would have had to compete with each other on costs and for funds.

What we can say, with depressing certainty, is that few will see the light of day in the next five years unless the Abbott government suddenly reverses its bent against wind energy and large scale solar projects.

Senvion, the developer of the $1.5 billion Ceres project, has warned that it will abandon Australia if the RET is badly cut. It is not alone.

US Recurrent Energy has already put its $2.5 billion portfolio on hold and left the country, First Solar, which is building two major solar plants in NSW, has warned that it may follow. So too has Spanish developer FRV, the builder of the only complete solar plant in the eastern seaboard, and the 57MW plant at Moree now under construction.

Other companies to warn that they will quit Australia include China’s wind energy giant Goldwind, and the UK’s Renewable Energy Systems. Numerous others, such as Yingli and Trina have warned that Australia will become a laggard and will find it hard to compete for investment.frv

Australian companies such as Infigen Energy and Pacific Hydro have already put Australian paroject on hold. Numerous other smaller project developers are being forced to do the same thing.

The Clean Energy Council estimates there are 34 wind farms alone that have been approved around the country including 10 in NSW and 13 in Victoria that are unlikely to be built if the target is cut.

South Australi’s Premier Jay Wetherill says $4.5 billion of invstment is stalled as a result of the RET stand-off. A report from the WA Renewable Energy Alliance, said changes to the RET threaten more than 700MW of large-scale wind and solar projects – $1 billion- worth of clean energy projects – and around 7000 of jobs in that state alone.

We’ve done some poking around, and the result, below, is a list of the slated – approved and nominally under construction – renewable energy projects that might not go ahead when the RET is finally neutered. We suspect there are a lot more than we have listed here.

SOLAR

NSW

French Group Neoen proposes 115MW of large scale solar at 5 regional centres in western NSW.

Western NSW councils have called for $200 million of funding to build a range of small to medium-sized solar plants.

Various other councils, including Lismore, are looking a smaller solar projects which may not go ahead without RET support.

QLD

400MW Kilcoy solar project north of Brisbane.

80MW RE Oakey solar project in Darling Downs (Recurrrent Energy).

15MW solar project by Sunshine Coast Council

VIC

The state still officially has a 5% solar target, but since election of Coalition state government, little has been heard of it since.

WA

50MW Mungari solar PV plant, near Kalgoorlie. (Investec/Megawatt Capital/Neoen).

30MW Chapman solar PV plant, mid west region near Geraldton. (Investec/Megawatt Capital/Neoen).

Other projects identified by WA renewable energy alliance:

30MW solar PV, Perth region

20MW solar project, mid west region

2 x 10MW solar PV, mid west region

Expansion of 10MW Greenough River Solar Plant near Geraldton. (First Solar)

NEXT STAGE WA SOLAR PROJECTS (out to 2020):

200MW+ solar PV

20MW solar thermal – mid west region

WIND – APPROVED

NSW

Wind Prospect CWP Sapphire (Continental Wind Partners) – 325.95MW

AGL and Macquarie: Silverton (Stage 1) – 296.1MW

Epuron: White Rock Wind Farm – 238MW

RATCH Australia Corporation: Collector – 184.25MW

Infigen Energy: Capital 2 Wind Farm – 102.5MW

Pamada Scone (Kyoto Energy Park) – 102MW

Infigen Energy: Bodangora – 99MW

OneWind Australia: Glen Innes – 52.5MW

Epuron: Conroy’s Gap – 30MW

Wind Corporation Australia: Black Springs – 18.9MW

QLD

Infigen Energy: Forsayth – 70MW

SA

Senvion Australia: Ceres Project (Ardrossan) – 597MW

Infigen Energy: Woakwine Stage 1 – 372MW

Investec Bank: Hornsdale – 315MW

OneWind Australia: Lincoln Gap – 177MW

Pacific Hydro: Keyneton – 105MW

International PowerWillogoleche – 78MW

Energy Australia: Waterloo Stage 2 – 18MW

TAS

OneWind Australia: Cattle Hill – 240MW

VIC

Origin Energy: Stockyard Hill – 392.5MW

WestWind Energy: Moorabool – 321MW

Union Fenosa, Berrybank – 198MW

Infigen Energy: Cherry Tree – 48MW

Pacific Hydro: Yaloak South – 29.4MW

International Power: Winchelsea – 28MW

VIC Windlab Developments: Coonooer Bridge – 15MW

Future Energy: Chepstowe – 6MW

WA

Wind Prospect: Dandaragan – 513.4MW

Infigen Energy, RPV: Walkaway 3 – 298.2MW

Moonies Hill Energy: Flat Rocks – 148MW

Stanwell Corporation: Badgingara – 130MW

Infigen Energy, RPV: Walkaway 2 – 92.4MW

Griffin Energy – 70MW

WIND NOMINALLY UNDER CONSTRUCTION

NSW

Union Fenosa: Crookwell 2 – 92MW

VIC

RES: Ararat – 247.5MW

Acciona Energy: Mt Gellibrand – 189MW

Union Fenosa: Ryan Corner – 134MW

WestWind Energy: Lal Lal – 128MW

Mitsui & Co: Bald Hills (1 and 2) – 106.6MW

Pacific Hydro: Crowlands – 84.05MW

Acciona Energy: Mortlake South – 76.5MW

Union Fenosa: Hawkesdale – 62MW

Pacific Hydro: Portland Stage 4 – 47.15MW

Wind Farm Developments: Woolsthorpe – 40MW

TrustPower Australia: Salt Creek (Woorndoo) – 31.5MW

Total Capacity at Risk: 6879.4MW

Construction work force 6600 one year contracts

Ongoing work force 690 local jobs directly at the wind farm

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12 Comments
  1. john 4 years ago

    While the average price has not moved down dramatically for the eastern sea board from 1998 the average peak price where the gen sets make their money has moved down and this is where the profit was.
    RE is flattening out the price structure so the existing old sets are hurting badly.
    No doubt no action has had the intended result of delaying and cancelling the intended investment.
    The same as the fertiliser plant which could not build because they could not secure supply contracts for the gas as feed stock so have built in the USA we loose a $1b factory and will be importing the fertiliser well done Team Australia.

  2. barrie harrop 4 years ago

    Add 600MW wind farm Robe,Sth Aust $1.6bn on back burner.

  3. Ken Dyer 4 years ago

    Greg Hunt is delusional about “clean ” coal according to the ABC Fact Check, and no doubt, taxpayers’ money will be used to fund the R&D for expensive fossil fuel technology, rather than clean renewable energy technology.

    According to a report issued by The Australia Institute,(http://www.tai.org.au/) the coal industry continually makes the “clean coal” claim.

    According to the report,”All Talk and No Action: The Coal industry and Energy Poverty”, ” Major improvements in the emissions standards of coal-fired power stations have been achieved in relation to sulphur, nitrogen and particulate pollution, which affect human health. Coal-fired power remains, however, a major source of carbon dioxide emissions which cause climate change.

    So in other words, as far as CO2 emissions are concerned, there is no such thing as clean coal. The report also pointed out, that the coal mining companies like BHP Billiton, in fulfilling their social contract to bring energy to the impoverished, are installing solar projects, because the centralised model of big coal fired power station with large distributed grids is not cost competitive, and would not recover profits from the impoverished people it is supposed to supply energy to.

    The COALition, a slave of Big Coal, is living in the 20th Century. The Abbott Government seems blind to the incredible developments such as battery technologies that within 2 years will be so cheap with manufacturers targeting a production cost of $100 per Kw, that linking a bank of batteries to the home rooftop solar array will be a financial no-brainer. Reliable off-grid energy is a reality now, and within the next two years, as it gets cheaper, will become ubiquitous.

    Leave the coal in the ground!

    • SolarPowerBen 4 years ago

      TA and his mates are not blind as I see it, instead they see stronger profits for themselves when listening to King Coal. These profits take all kinds of shapes, we might ask Frances Abbott, various coalition party coffers etc. No wonder they so vehemently reject a national ICAC!

      • john 4 years ago

        The profit has gone from Generating Electricity I expect Giles to post some graphs shortly and I would especially like to see the dispatched energy and price correlation as the peak price has gone down so has the peak dispatch result no profit in coal especially for brown coal with its poor energy content and high ash

      • Ken Dyer 4 years ago

        Exactly right! You need look no further than Whitehaven Coal situated in the middle of an environmentally sensitive State Forest to find references to corrupt slush funds, the NSW ICAC, former coalition ministers and Liberal Party apparatchiks on the board, and the list goes on.

    • john 4 years ago

      You are absolutely on the money with battery storage there are so many start-ups in this area they are just about the same position as PV was in the late 70’s early 80’s however some are really getting into it with high cap and not building small the price reductions will be even quicker than PV. The result will be home systems and I would say Australian utilities had better get into the market to install and maintain these systems or they will be left with no business plan.

  4. Andrew Woodroffe 4 years ago

    Let us, for a moment, put the crony capitalism of the Feds aside and consider the idea of the states doing it for themselves. SA, Vic (after the state election) and NSW are quite pro renewables, perhaps they should each have state based targets, or better yet, they have could have a states inter state RET target/agreement. Retailers operating within these regions would have legal obligations to obtain green certificates on pain of a $40 penalty (per certificate) for non compliance as with existing Federal rules and regulations. And the existing CER could be used as is or similarly to the way greenpower generation is handled.

    As for Tasmania, it was always had hydro and Queensland has rooftop solar, which will continue to be installed regardless of what anyone does, the issue only being either this is done quickly or slowly.

    And over here in WA, I am sorry but it is an absolute mess over here and it will not be resolved anytime soon.

  5. Arnoo 4 years ago

    “Collins street house of ill repute” … “The whore that Judd is” … threats not to visit after dark (at threat of violence presumably) …

    How unedifying.

  6. Seba Bozek 4 years ago

    It seems even the future of wind power in Esperance, the site of Australia’s first commercial wind farm, could rest on the RET.

    http://www.esperanceexpress.com.au/story/2356486/future-of-esperance-wind-power-uncertain/

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  8. Daniel Donatelli 4 years ago

    Work on Wind solar geothermal and micro hydro.
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