The Australian Capital Region is one of Australia's fastest growing wind investment regions. More than 800 megawatts of wind power is already in operation or planned for construction, with more than 1700 megawatts at earlier stages of development.
Under the ACT's 90% renewable energy target, additional wind power investments will meet around 45% percent of Canberra's electricity needs by 2020. This is more than enough to power all Canberra residences.
This will be achieved by using the Territory's reverse-auction Feed-in Tariff (FiT) process as demonstrated through the ACT's first Solar Auction, with an initial 200MW wind auction to be held in 2014.
On 12 March 2014 the Minister for the Environment, Simon Corbell MLA, announced a 200MW Wind Auction to be conducted by a competitive process.
At the time of the announcement, the Minister also released the ACT Renewable Energy Local Investment Framework, designed to enhance opportunities for job creation resulting from the ACT's investments in large-scale renewable energy.
All developers participating in the wind auction were required to demonstrate best practice community engagement processes for their projects and contributions to local job creation.
Proposals for the Wind Auction closed on 3 September 2014, with 18 submissions received with a combined generation capacity of more than 1,000 megawatts.
On 6 February 2015, the Minister announced three successful proponents:
- Ararat Wind Farm Pty Ltd for a 80.5 MW proposal to be located north-west of Ballarat, Victoria. The project is being developed by RES Australia Pty Ltd, a subsidiary of RES UK, a global renewable energy company.
- Coonooer Bridge Wind Farm Pty Ltd for a 19.4 MW proposal to be located north-west of Bendigo, Victoria. The project is being developed by Windlab Ltd, a Canberra based renewable energy company.
- Hornsdale Wind Farm Pty Ltd for a 100 MW proposal to be located south-east of Port Augusta, South Australia. The project is being developed by Neoen, a French based renewable energy company.
The three successful proposals will deliver a range of benefits for the ACT through a $50 million local investment package, including 11 full-time local jobs, a new national trades training centre and new courses for Canberra’s higher education institutions attracting 50–60 new students to the ACT each year.
Wind Auction Advisory Panel
In March 2014 an independent Wind Auction Advisory Panel was appointed by the Minister for the Environment. The Panel was responsible for overseeing the Wind Auction assessment process and making recommendations to the Minister for the awarding of a grant of feed-in tariff entitlement to successful proponents.
The Panel members were:
Ross Bunyon AM, Chair (NSW), current positions: Board member, Forestry Tasmania; Advisory Panel member Market Eye and 3D Rural. Past positions include: Chairman positions at Railcorp; Green’s Foods Ltd; ICS Global Ltd; Turner and Townsend Aust; Pacific Power; Pacific Power (International) Pty Ltd; Electricity Supply Association of Australia; and Eraring Energy. He has been a director of Power Coal; Treasury Corporation of NSW; and Valley Training Company; Commissioner of the Snowy Mountains Council; and Member of the World Energy Council Executive Assembly. Member of Federal Government Energy Security Council
Michael Sargent AM (ACT), current positions: Director of MA Sargent and Associates; Member of Clean Energy Regulator; Member of ARENA Advisory Panel. Past positions include: Chief Executive of Transfield Energy Pty Ltd; Chief Executive Officer of ACTEW Corporation Ltd; Chief Executive of Energex (Previously SEQEB); Director Australian Energy Market Operator; and member of the National Grid Management Council.
Michael Dureau AM (NSW), current positions: Chairman of The Warren Centre for Advanced Engineering Ltd and Adjunct Professor of Engineering at Sydney University. Director of The Australian Centre for Innovation & International Competitiveness (ACIIC), Director of BioTek Fuels P/L (Waste to Energy) and Boutique Fertilisers P/L. Director of Granite Power P/L (Geothermal), Deputy Chairman Coal Innovation NSW. Past positions include: Managing Director of ALSTOM Power; Chairman of Technical Committee of Ceramic Fuel Cells Ltd; Chairman of RedR Australia; President of Australian Water Association; Chairman of Anaeco Ltd;
Bruce Godfrey (ACT), current positions: Chief Executive Officer, Australian Scientific Instruments Pty Ltd; Chair, Advisory Panel, Australian Renewable Energy Agency. Past positions include: Principal Consultant, Wyld Group Pty Ltd; Managing Director of Ceramic Fuel Cells Limited; and General Manager and Managing Director for the Energy and Research and Development Corporation.
Nic Jacobson (SA), current position: Senior Engineer, Renewable Energy, IT Power. Past positions include: Engineer, Garrard Hassan Pacific; Manager, Energy Resources, Acciona Energy; Senior Engineer, Renewable Energy, GHD; Technical Analyst, Renewables SA; Policy Officer, Clean Energy Council; and Project Manager, University of Adelaide.
Karen Doran (ACT), current position: Executive Director, Economic and Financial Group, Chief Minister, Treasury and Economic Development, ACT Government.
Study into wind resources in the Australian Capital Region
In 2013, the Environment and Planning Directorate commissioned the consultant AECOM to assess the prospects for investing in wind energy generation in the Australian Capital Region and the potential to support new investments through a large-scale FiT reverse auction process.
Download: Pathways to Wind Power Development in the Australian Capital Region (2.4MB)
AECOM concluded that a reverse auction FiT mechanism for wind energy would result in a cost effective way to achieve the Territory's renewable energy targets. They found that a reverse auction FiT held by mid-2014 would likely yield competitive FiT prices. This is due to the competitive wind energy market that currently exists.
Further, they concluded that the development of wind energy could bring significant benefits to the Australian Capital Region. The most significant benefits are environmental, due to the large offset of greenhouse gases emissions, and economic, due to the large investment and job creation in the area