Clean energy targets are causing uncertainty for renewable energy providers, a company planning a $2 billion wind farm says.
Renewable energy group Epuron will today announce a proposal to install about 500 wind turbines northwest of Broken Hill, in western NSW, saying they could generate enough electricity for 400,000 homes.
The project would produce up to 4.5 per cent of NSW annual energy needs, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by three million tonnes of carbon dioxide a year.
Speaking on ABC Radio this morning, Epuron executive director Martin Poole said the federal government’s clean energy target had created confusion in the renewable energy sector, which had previously been working within the state-based frameworks.
Under the government’s national Clean Energy Target, announced last month, 30,000 gigawatt hours each year would come from low emissions sources by 2020 – about 15 per cent of Australia’s energy consumption.
Prime Minister John Howard said the government would consult with states and industry in designing and implementing the scheme, which he said would take effect no later than January 2010.
The federal scheme would replace state-based schemes, but the time lag had caused confusion for companies wanting to invest in green technology, Mr Poole said.
NSW has set a renewable energy target of 10 per cent by 2010, and 15 per cent by 2020.
“It doesn’t so much undermine the states as cause the potential for a delay,” he said.
“When people like us can’t decide whether it is state legislation or federal legislation we should be looking at to give us the signals to do our business.
“I guess the challenge for us is the federal scheme as announced might not start until 2010.”
Asked if he preferred the state schemes, Mr Poole said it was the state scheme that was currently driving the market.
“I think because the state schemes are actually here, and they are in their gestation and are now working, that it is the state schemes that are driving the market right now,” he said.
The Clean Energy Council’s Dominique La Fontaine said the confusion would lead to a stalling of investment in renewable energy.
“If the states put those plans on hold in the expectation of the federal measure, then that will cause a stalling in investment,” she said.
“So we must proceed immediately with the NSW renewable energy targets to enable the right investment framework, and the climate for the wind farms.”
The 500 turbines are planned on a ridge near Silverton, best known as a backdrop for films such as Mad Max II.
8 October 2007
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