2017 is shaping up to be a “huge year” for the development of large-scale renewables in Australia, with up to 2,250 megawatts worth of new development under construction, according to information provided by the country’s Clean Energy Council this week.
More than 20 large-scale renewable energy projects are apparently already under construction or are scheduled to commence construction in 2017, which in turn are expected to create almost 3,000 direct jobs and generate an impressive $5 billion in investments.
These are the highlights of new analysis provided by Australia’s Clean Energy Council, which claims 2017 could see the largest addition of generating capacity since the Snowy Hydro Scheme more than 50 years ago — one of the most iconic building projects in Australia’s history.
“We are set for a huge 2017, with more than 20 projects either under construction or which have secured funding and will go to construction this year,” said Clean Energy Council Chief Executive Kane Thornton. “This investment is occurring due to the extraordinary cost reductions achieved in renewable energy, underpinned by the bipartisan support for the 2020 Renewable Energy Target (RET) as well as support from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency, the Clean Energy Finance Corporation and various initiatives of state and territory governments.”
Renewable energy, while wildly cost efficient in recent years, is also of particular value in a country as wide and spread-out as Australia — with its dense coastal populations and more regional and rural inner-country population centres.
“Given the nature of renewable energy projects, regional parts of the country will benefit from many of these job opportunities, while the projects will provide flow-on benefits to the many different businesses involved,” explained Thornton. “This new wind and solar power will help our system cope during periods where everyone is using electricity. As we saw in New South Wales during the heatwaves a few days ago, every generator counts when the heat is on.”
The expected projects are split into two categories — projects already under construction, and projects set to begin construction in 2017:
Projects under construction
|Wind||SA||Neoen / Megawatt Capital||Hornsdale Stage 2 & 3||209||$800m||150||2017||73|
|Wind||NSW||Goldwind Australia||White Rock Stage 1||175||$400m||200||2017||70|
|Wind / Solar||SA||EDL||Coober Pedy||4||$37m||2017||2|
|Solar||QLD||Sunshine Coast Council||Sunshine Coast Solar Farm||15||$50m||60||2017|
|Solar||NSW||Goldwind Australia||Gullen Range Solar Farm||10||$26m||70||2017|
|Solar||QLD||Lakeland Solar & Storage P/L (Conergy)||Lakeland Solar and Storage||10.8||$42.5m||60||2017|
Projects with financial commitment – to start construction in 2017
|Wind||VIC||ACCIONA||Mt Gellibrand – Stage 1||66||$140m||100||Q1||22|
|Wind||NSW||Partners Group / CWP Renewables||Sapphire||270||$350m||200||Q1||75|
|Wind||NSW||Union Fenosa||Crookwell 2||91||$200m||80||Q2||33|
|Solar||QLD||Sun Metals P/L||Sun Metals Solar Farm||100||$155m||250||Q2|
|Solar||QLD||ESCO Pacific||Ross River Solar Farm||135||$225m||150||Q2|
|Wind / Solar||QLD||Windlab||Kennedy Energy Park||40||$120m||50||Q3||10|
|Solar||QLD||Genex||Kidston Solar Farm||50||$126m||100||Q1|
|Solar||QLD||FRV||Clare Solar Farm||100||$190m||200||Q2|
|Wind||NSW||Powering Australian Renewables Fund||Silverton Wind Farm||200||$460m||150||Q1||58|
|Solar||QLD||FRV||Lilyvale Solar Farm||100||$400m||200||Q3|
|Solar||SA||Snowy Hydro||Tailem Bend||100||$200m||200||Q4|
|Solar||NSW||Neoen||Three projects: Dubbo, Parkes and Griffith||110||$230m||250||Q4|
|Totals (both tables)||2256||$5106.5m||2955|
“Renewable energy is now the cheapest type of new energy generation that it is possible to build today, we have a strong program of works, and Australians are very much on board with the transition of our energy sector to one which is smarter and cleaner,” Mr Thornton concluded.
“However, clarity on long-term energy policy and support for renewable energy beyond 2020 will be essential to ensure these levels of investment are sustained.”