2017 Could Be A “Huge Year” For Large-Scale Renewables In Australia

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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

State Developer Project MW Invest-
Jobs Finish Tur-
Wind SA Neoen / Megawatt Capital Hornsdale Stage 2 & 3 209 $800m 150 2017 73
Wind VIC RES Ararat 240 $450m 165 2017 75
Wind NSW Goldwind Australia White Rock Stage 1 175 $400m 200 2017 70
Wind QLD RATCH Mt Emerald 180 $380m 150 2018 63
Wind VIC Windlab Kiata 30 $75m 70 2017 9
Solar WA APA Emu Downs 20 $50m 100 2017
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

State Developer Project MW Invest-
Jobs Start Turb-
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.”

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Joshua S Hill

I'm a Christian, a nerd, a geek, and I believe that we're pretty quickly directing planet-Earth into hell in a handbasket! I also write for Fantasy Book Review (.co.uk), and can be found writing articles for a variety of other sites. Check me out at about.me for more.

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