The Victorian government says its renewable energy targets are still on track despite plans to dump a financially unviable $140 million wind turbine farm.
AGL Energy Limited has officially abandoned plans to build the 48 turbine Dollar Wind Farm in Victoria’s southeast, 10 months after placing its application on indefinite hold.
AGL cited financial concerns with the project.
“Even considering the current and any future emissions trading environment, the economics of the project are less compelling as compared with other projects under investment consideration by AGL,” the company said in a statement.
“Renewable energy is AGL’s core business and we will continue to explore and develop a diverse power generation portfolio including base, peaking and intermediate generation plants.”
Nationals Victorian leader Peter Ryan said AGL’s decision had ruined the government’s renewable energy targets.
“Today the Victorian government’s plans for the development of this industry are in tatters,” Mr Ryan said.
He called on the government to release the final report of the planning panel established to consider the wind farm, as it was likely to reveal an adverse finding.
“There were about 125 houses within a 2.5km radius of the turbines,” he said.
“I suspect that the panel found that that was just unsustainable in the context of the development of this industry.
“There are also questions about the panel’s views of the aesthetics of the wind farm.
“I think the findings of this report would offer some future guidance as to the development of this industry in the future.”
Mr Ryan said there was community support for wind farms in appropriate places, but not along Victoria’s pristine coastline.
A spokesman for Energy Minister Peter Batchelor, Bill Kyriakopoulos, said AGL’s decision would not stop the government reaching its renewable energy target of 10 per cent by 2016.
“Today’s announcement is a commercial decision by a private company to withdraw its proposal,” Mr Kyriakopoulos said.
“There are plenty of wind, solar and hydro projects that have been announced recently that will help us achieve our target.
“Unlike the National and Liberal parties, the Brumby government believes in a cleaner, greener, energy future for Victoria.”
Comment was being sought from Planning Minister Justin Madden.
The wind farm was to be built near the communities of Dollar, Meeniyan, Dumbalk, Foster and Stony Creek, in south Gippsland.
It would have contributed 79 megawatts (MW) to the Victorian government’s target of creating 1,000 MW of wind energy by 2010.
15 August 2007
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