Bumper renewables year predicted in Australia

AUSTRALIA: Australia's renewables industry is seeing the largest amount of construction activity in over 50 years, according to data released by the Clean Energy Council (CEC).

Projects currently under construction in Australia totals 834MW including the 240MW Ararat project in Victoria

The CEC said 22 renewable projects are either under construction or ready to begin installation this year.

The projects have a combined 2.25GW of new renewable generation capacity for Australia as it looks to get back on track in reaching its Renewable Energy Target (RET) of 33TWh by 2020 after years of a political stalemate.

Around A$5.1 billion (US$3.9 billion) is being invested in these projects, with the creation of roughly 3,000 jobs, the CEC added.

It is the largest amount of renewable energy activity in Australia since the Snowy Mountain hydro scheme in south-east Australia, which was constructed between 1949 and 1974 at a cost of A$820 million.

Most of the projects are located in Queensland and New South Wales, in the more populous eastern Australia.

South Australia and Victoria are also pushing ahead with renewable projects. "State and territory governments have been instrumental in bringing much of this investment forward and restoring confidence to the sector," the CEC said.

Wind projects currently under construction in Australia totals 834MW, with a combined 290 turbines, including the 240MW Ararat project in Victoria.

There is also a two-turbine 4MW wind-solar hybrid project being installed in South Australia by EDL.

A further 627MW of wind projects and a 40MW wind-solar hybrid site have arranged financing and are ready to begin building works in 2017, including CWP Renewable's 270MW Sapphire project in New South Wales.

"This investment is occurring due to the extraordinary cost reductions achieved in renewable energy, underpinned by the bipartisan support for the RET as well as support from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency, the Clean Energy Finance Corporation and various initiatives of state and territory governments," the CEC chief executive Kane Thornton said.

"Investment confidence has rebounded and our economy is set to reap the benefits through a massive increase in activity between now and the end of the decade.

" 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," Kane added.