The ACT Government has run two reverse auctions to drive investment in 400 MW of wind generating capacity (2014 and 2015). Supported wind farms can be located anywhere in the National Electricity Market (covering all states and territories except Western Australia and the Northern Territory).
Combined, the ACT’s supported wind farms will deliver about 50% of the Territory’s electricity supply from renewable energy sources in 2020. This will reduce emissions by 1.9 million tonnes in that year.
More information: How wind will power Canberra homes.
In 2016, the ACT Government ran the Next Generation Renewables Auction to drive further investment in up to 200 MW of new wind or solar generating capacity.
Wind Auction I
Eighteen submissions were received, with a combined generation capacity of more than 1,000 MW, under the Wind Auction that closed on 3 September 2014.
On 6 February 2015, the Minister announced three successful proponents:
- Ararat Wind Farm Pty Ltd for an 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 located north-west of Bendigo, Victoria. The project, which began generating in February 2016, was developed by Windlab Ltd, a Canberra-based renewable energy company. Coonooer Bridge Wind Farm officially opened on 15 April 2016.
- 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.
All three projects will be managed by asset and operations centres in Canberra. More information:
Wind Auction I review
The first Wind Auction was reviewed by Jacobs Group (Australia) Pty Ltd, as required under section 22 of the Electricity Feed-in (Large-scale Renewable Energy Generation) Act 2011. The review was tabled in the Legislative Assembly on 17 November 2015. More information:
Wind Auction II
Fifteen proposals were received in response to the ACT Government’s Wind Auction II.
On 17 December 2015, the Minister for the Environment announced 100 MW Hornsdale Wind Farm, Stage 2, as the first winner. This wind farm is to be developed by French renewable energy company Neoen International SAS in partnership with Australian company Megawatt Capital Investments.
On 4 March 2016, the Minister for the Environment announced the second winning project— 100MW Sapphire Wind Farm 1 in northern New South Wales. This is being developed by CWP Renewables.
Wind Auction II review
Wind Auction II was reviewed by AECOM Australia Pty Ltd, as required under section 22 of the Electricity Feed-in (Large-scale Renewable Energy Generation) Act 2011. The review was tabled in the Legislative Assembly on 15 December 2016. More information:
Local economic benefits
While the wind farms supported by the ACT are spread across Australia, successful wind auction proposals have resulted in significant new education, training and research and development opportunities in Canberra.
More information: Growing the Clean Economy
Wind Auction Advisory Panel
An independent Wind Auction Advisory Panel was appointed by the Minister for the Environment in May 2014. The Panel oversaw the Wind Auction I assessment process and made recommendations to the Minister on awarding a grant of feed-in tariff entitlement to successful proponents. The Panel also oversaw the Wind Auction II held in 2015 and the 2016 Next Generation Renewables Auction.
The Wind Auction II Advisory Panel, November 2015, from left: Ross Bunyon (Chairman), Bruce Godfrey, Nic Jacobson, Michael Sargent (past member), Karen Doran and Michael Dureau.
Study into wind resources in the Australian Capital Region
The Environment, Planning and Sustainable Development Directorate commissioned AECOM in 2013 to assess prospects for investing in wind energy generation in the ACT and supporting new investments through a large-scale feed-in tariff (Fit) reverse auction process.
AECOM concluded that a reverse auction FiT for wind energy would be cost effective in achieving the Territory's renewable energy targets. It held by mid-2014, the auction would likely yield competitive FiT prices because of the competitive wind energy market at the time.
The review also concluded that developing wind energy would bring significant benefits to the ACT, including a large offset of greenhouse gases emissions as well as large investment and job creation.
More information: Pathways to Wind Power Development in the Australian Capital Region