The future is unclear for landholders with existing wind turbines – and for any future wind-power projects – as the federal government considers the recommendations of a review into the Renewable Energy Target scheme.
The review, released recently, recommends a halt to the scheme it claims is costing taxpayers $422 billion in industry subsidies.
It advocates that the government either stops the subsidy for any new entrants and phase-out support by 2030, or introduce new power setups only where demand in electricity is rising.
Clean Energy Council policy director Russell Marsh said that if either of these recommendations were taken on board by the government it would have a significant impact on renewable power sources in SA, particularly wind.
He said SA had the largest number of wind farms in Australia, and in July had a record 43 per cent of its power supplied by wind.
The end of the renewable energy target would see no new developments, and there would also be a significant effect on existing developments.
“If what the revenue companies get for their output is reduced it will have an impact on their financial viability,” Mr Marsh said.
“It is too early to say what impact that will have on the landholders with wind turbines installed.”
He said none of the recommendations would be positive for the renewable energy industry and would have a negative impact on the cost of power for consumers.
Predictive modelling, used in the review process, showed that within the next decade some of the wind technologies would be cost-effective compared with other traditional power supplies.
“We would no longer need subsidies – it would stand on its own feet,” Mr Marsh said.
If the review recommendations were taken up, the industry “stands no chance of getting there”.
State Mineral Resources & Energy Minister Tom Koutsantonis said SA had a long history in pursuing renewable investments in power, with low carbon-based energy generation contributing significantly to SA’s electricity.
He said there had been a state target, above the 20pc of the federal government, to source 33pc of its electricity needs from renewable sources by 2020.
“In 2012-13, wind made up 27pc and solar energy 4pc of total electricity generation in the state, so we are well on the way,” he said.
* Full report in Stock Journal, September 11, 2014 issue.
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