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Market Status: Australia & New Zealand - Anti-wind agenda paralyses industry

The government wants to slash or scrap the renewable energy target (RET), which calls for 45TWh to be sourced from renewables by 2020.

Australia's wind industry's future hangs in the balance. Prime minister Tony Abbott's right-wing, anti-wind government wants to slash or scrap the renewable energy target (RET), which calls for 45TWh to be sourced from renewables by 2020.

The federal government currently lacks the support to push through changes to the target, which has been the main driver for wind development in recent years, but the virulence with which it has attacked the RET has discouraged wind developers. Around 380MW is expected to be installed this year, compared with 567MW in 2014.

Renewables trade association the Clean Energy Council (CEC) claims investment in renewable energy across the country has fallen by 88% since the government set up its review of the RET. No new wind projects are expected to start construction this year.

However, the Australian Capital Territory ran its own reverse auction process for 200MW of new wind projects, announcing the successful bidders earlier this year. These projects are forecast to come online in 2017, but the CEC has warned that for any additional wind development, policy stability under the RET is needed.

One casualty of the government's negativity towards wind power is the 600MW TasWind project. Developer Hydro Tasmania cited the threat to the RET as a reason for its decision to abandon the project last October.

New Zealand saw 60MW added in 2014 in the form of Meridian Energy's Mill Creek project near Wellington, bringing its total capacity to 680MW. While there are a number of projects slated to go online in 2015, none has yet shown signs of kicking into action. The 12 consented projects in the pipeline have a capacity of more than 2GW, but there is little demand to drive progress.

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