Friday 24 March 2006

Wind farm proposed for Hopetoun

A community owned wind farm is being proposed for Hopetoun. Ballarat University wants to research the idea and this is supported by Yarriambiack Shire. The proposed study will survey Hopetoun’s current and projected power demand collect wind speed data and investigate potential sustainable industries for Hopetoun.

Monday 20 March 2006

Vic. wind farm boosts green portfolio

A new wind farm on the Victorian south coast has been added to Country Energy's suite of renewable energy sources, helping the company to meet renewable energy targets and the growing demand for green power.

Known as Wonthaggi Wind Farm, the facility has six large wind turbines and is expected to produce 30,000 megawatt hours of electricity per annum – enough energy to power 4,000 homes.

Thanks to this project, Country Energy will be saving around 28,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions each year, which would otherwise have been produced from coal-fired power stations.

Under a 10-year power purchase agreement with Regional Wind Farms, the energy company will purchase all of the electricity and renewable energy credits generated by the wind farm.

Group general manager retail, John Adams said Country Energy's comprehensive renewable energy strategy included the purchase of more and more energy from renewable sources.

In addition to wind farm projects in regional New South Wales and South Australia, Country Energy also purchases hydro-electricity from stations throughout NSW; biomass energy (energy generated from natural materials such as plants and organic landfill) from NSW's Far North Coast, Queensland and Sydney; a food waste to energy plant in Sydney; and solar farms and rooftop solar systems across NSW.

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'Enough is enough': Threat to quit UK

Alternative energy development, bureaucratic nonsense and Government hypocrisy. A sad tale of delays and bad management..

The Independent

By Tim Webb
Published: 19 March 2006

One of the UK's largest wind farm developers has threatened to pull out of the country as a storm blows up over the Government's plans for renewable energy.

A logjam in the planning process for developers means that many wind farms will not be operational for a decade. Unless financing rules are changed, Wind Energy is warning that many will never even get built, which could force the Government to miss its targets on renewable energy.

The timing of the protest is embarrassing for the Government, which next month will close consultation on its energy review on nuclear power. Its previous review - only three years ago - was supposed to back renewable energy such as wind power.

Wind Energy wants to build 800MW of onshore wind farms in Scotland, enough to power a city the size of Edinburgh.

National Grid has told the company, and developers of around 100 other wind farms in Scotland, totalling around 6,000MW, that they will not be connected to the grid before 2016.

But despite the huge timelag, developers still have to table deposits upfront to cover the cost of the upgrades to the grid - even if planning permission for their site is not granted and the wind farm does not go ahead.

Under the planning regime, developers have to apply for connection to the grid before they can gain planning permission. Around half the planning applications for onshore wind farms in the UK fail.

Even if a developer secures planning approval and does not lose its deposit for connection, it is not home and dry. Should a nearby wind farm plan fall through, the other developers sharing the planned upgrade to the grid have to shoulder the failed developer's liabilities.

Mike Davies, managing director of Wind Energy, said developers should be able to delay payment until a decision on planning permission is made.

He added that developers had earned a temporary reprieve, until September, before they have to start paying millions of pounds in connection fees to National Grid.

"We are relying on the Government to sort this out in the next six months. Unless things change, we would have to say 'enough is enough - we are pulling out'. We will move to other countries where these projects are easier to develop instead. Trying to get through the regulatory and planning system in the UK is like running in treacle. It needs some movement from the top urgently."

The Government has set a target to generate a 10th of the UK's electricity, or around 7,000MW, from renewable sources by 2010 rising to a fifth by 2020.