Posted October 02, 2018 16:06:22 The Australian Government’s offshore wind energy target is set to be scrapped, with the industry warning it is being undermined by a lack of government support.
Key points:The Government has promised to build 150 megawatts of offshore wind power by 2023, but the project has never been built in Australia since the National Broadband Network was introducedThe Australian Energy Market Operator has been ordered to release details of its approval process for wind projectsThe ABC has obtained a draft of a draft environmental impact statement (EIS) for a proposed project in Queensland.
The EIS is likely to have the final say on whether the Government’s target is reinstated, with wind developers saying it is an “overwhelmingly negative” EIS.
“It’s going to be a major setback,” said Steve Hill, chief executive of the Queensland wind industry body Wind Energy Queensland.
“The government hasn’t done anything to encourage or facilitate the development of wind in the state.”
Mr Hill said the draft EIS showed the Government was not prepared to invest in offshore wind, and that it would be more than “just a few months” before the Government would commit to the new target.
“This is the first time we’ve seen an EIS where the government is saying it will no longer support offshore wind,” he said.
The draft EISE said the project would be able to generate a maximum of 10MW of electricity, and could deliver 20,000 homes by 2027.
The government’s offshore target was set in November and was designed to generate enough electricity to meet the needs of the country’s electricity consumers for five years, as well as provide a buffer against fluctuations in wind prices.
“If the Government really wants to see the offshore wind industry flourish, it’s going and investing in wind,” Mr Hill said.
“We can do that in our own state and we can do it in Queensland.”
Wind energy has been booming in Queensland in recent years.
The Queensland Government’s plan for wind farms will see the state build more than a million megawatts by 2028.
It has also promised to invest $400 million in the industry by 2026, and a further $50 million in 2019-20.
“What we have now is a total disregard for what’s in the best interest of the industry and the people of Queensland,” Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said.
Wind industry groups say they are disappointed with the draft environmental assessment, and have been lobbying the Government to support their projects.
“I think that’s an indication of how much work has been done, that they’ve done all the work and the time they’ve had to do, to ensure that offshore wind has a future,” Mr Kavanagh said.
Mr Hill says the draft has been put out by the Australian Energy Regulator (AER) under the Freedom of Information Act.
The AER said the AER did not comment on draft documents, and declined to provide the draft to the ABC.
Topics:energy,environment,government-and-politics,environmental-policy,environment-management,wind-energy,bureau-of-energy-and-[industry-and]-resources,environment—state-issues,environment–all,winds,windfarm-in-australia,windsource ABC News (AUS)