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Power grid overhaul wanted by wind energy industry  

The wind energy industry has called for the overhaul of the electricity grid to favour renewable energy.

It also welcomes a debate on zoning to make some areas, such as pristine coastlines, off-limits to wind farms.

“Rather than demand that renewable energy work within existing regulations under the National Electricity Market, perhaps the grid rules could be altered to more effectively deal with wind energy,” Roaring 40s managing director Mark Kelleher said.

Mr Kelleher was speaking at this week’s Auswind 2007 conference, which brought delegates to Melbourne to hear energy experts discuss the expansion of wind energy generation.

Roaring 40s operates windfarms in Australia and is also building them in China and India.

Mr Kelleher said renewable energy was now mainstream in some parts of the world and it was time to revolutionise Australia’s energy mix.

“Governments and managers of the network will benefit from a major overhaul of transmission design to lend a positive bias to renewable energy,” he said.

But Shane Breheny, chief executive of Powercor, Victoria’s largest electricity distributor, does not believe grid companies stand to gain from a revamp.

“I don’t agree we need a major overhaul,” Mr Breheny told BusinessDaily.

“Distributed generation (electricity that is not sourced from centralised coal-fired power stations) can be beneficial to grid operation, but only if it is not intermittent.”

Mr Breheny said that, although he supported incentive arrangements and solutions to energy problems rather than regulations, the impact of “intermittent” generation on network performance had to be addressed.

TruEnergy, the operator of both coal-fired and wind generators, also welcomed rewriting the transmission access rules to dismantle barriers to variable energy from wind and solar.

“Let’s have a look at connection rules . . . let’s consider changing them so they present a level playing field for smaller, more remote generators, such as windfarms,” TruEnergy portfolio director Carlo Botto said.

Mr Botto added that the renewables sector would be willing to forgo development at some sites if it were reassured that in other areas the regulatory process would be streamlined.

Auswind head and Clean Energy Council chief executive Dominique La Fontaine yesterday launched Certified Wind Farms Australia, a stringent code for developers.

By Olga Galacho

Herald Sun

11 October 2007

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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