The ACT government has just announced its fifth and final attempt to enslave Canberra’s economy to the volatility of wind energy (“Latest wind auction winner promises millions in benefits to Canberra economy”, canberratimes.com.au, March 4). The deal supposedly will be worth millions to the ACT economy. The kickback to the ACT is the relocation of the wind developer’s offices to Canberra, and that is probably where the benefits end.
Now that the ACT government has “secured” 90per cent of its non-carbon energy from wind, a new challenge lies ahead: wind energy developers will not be paid to deliver energy when Canberra needs energy. Instead, wind developers will be paid a guaranteed rate of $8910 per megawatt hour for their wind energy whenever the wind blows.
In times of excess wind energy, the ACT government will more likely than not be dumping excess energy on to the grid at wholesale prices as low as $50-$60 per megawatt hour; ie, up to 45per cent less than what the developer is paid, and then purchasing energy from other sources when the wind isn’t blowing, typically at rates well beyond what wind energy costs.
So, where are the millions in benefits? Rather the opposite: the ACT economy will be subsidising the existence of wind farms, paying premiums for energy, whilst turning swaths of quiet rural areas into no-go zones. Out of sight and out of mind for those in Canberra who are glowing with a green halo.
George Papadopoulos, Yass, NSW
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