Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Australia’s Pacific Hydro may expand retail electricity business

8 Nov 2012

Pacific Hydro Pty, the Australian renewable energy producer, may expand its retail business to New South Wales state and sell power to residential customers.

Pacific Hydro, a unit of Industry Funds Management Pty, in September started a retail-energy arm targeting businesses in the states of South Australia and Victoria. That reduces the company's reliance on retailers Origin Energy Ltd. (ORG), AGL Energy Ltd. (AGK) and TRUEnergy Holdings Pty Ltd., Lane Crockett, Pacific Hydro Australia's general manager, said today. "That's an alternative avenue to market", he said in an interview in Melbourne. "We'll be looking to expand that business, and that might provide opportunities so we don't have to rely on the big three".

Australia set a target of generating 41,000 GWs of electricity from renewable sources by 2020, or 20% of its projected needs. As demand slows, that target may end up being 25% of the country's energy mix prompting calls from power companies such as TRUEnergy Holdings to lower it. Uncertainty over whether the target will remain in its current form is hurting investment, Crockett said. Pacific Hydro also sees an opportunity in selling clean power to homes, Crockett said. "We think there's a story there to potentially market a green product to the average household", he said.

Pacific Hydro and partner Fotowatio Renewable Ventures are seeking funds from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency for a solar power project in New South Wales after losing a competition for federal government funds earlier this year, Crockett said. That project may have the capacity to produce as much as 60 MWs of electricity, he said. "We've been in discussions with ARENA", he said, declining to speculate on when the organization will decide.