The backers of several major wind farms in Victoria will have to start work on projects in tough financial circumstances or face losing their planning permits.
Wind farm development has stalled recently, largely due to the low renewable energy certificate (REC) price. Wind farm operators rely on selling RECs to utilities and big energy users who need them to meet legal requirements to buy low-emissions power, reports The Australian Financial Review.
At the same time, the Victorian government has brought in tough planning rules for wind farms. As part of the transition to the new rules, the government has told operators holding expiring permits that they must start work by March next year or they will have to reapply under the new regime.
An analysis of existing permits, provided to The Australian Financial Review, shows companies with wind farms totalling 358 turbines and with an output capacity of 712 megawatts will need to make that call.
Clean Energy Council strategy director Kane Thornton said most existing permits would not pass the new regulations. “The REC price is lower than what it needs to be to commercialise wind projects,” he said.
Senior ministers often refer to existing approvals for wind farms when asked about the government’s commitment to reducing Victoria’s dependence on coal.
“The government constantly says how over 1000 turbines already have permit approval, but a third of those could expire in the next six months and then half of the rest in the year after that,” Greens leader Greg Barber said. “By the time the next election rolls around, they will have all but wiped out the industry.”
|Wind Watch relies entirely
on User Funding