Australia

Australia

SOME SIGNS OF LIFE DOWN UNDER

Two requests for expressions of interest for supply of limited wind capacity to remote areas of Australia have proved the wind industry is still alive down under -- but its pulse remains generally weak.

At King Island in the Bass Strait off the southeastern coast of Australia, the Tasmanian Hydro Electric Commission has invited tenders for the installation of 750 kW of wind power to supplement the island's current diesel based power generation. Two thousand kilometres to the north, the Far North Queensland Electricity Board (FNQEB) has called for expressions of interest for supply of 250-750 kW of wind capacity to displace diesel fuel use on Thursday Island in the Torres Strait.

Alvin Smith of the FNQEB says the electricity authority has left the request very open to encourage innovation. Bidders can request a power purchase agreement or build the plant for FNQEB. At a current cost of A$0.22/kWh, a minimum capacity of just over a megawatt, and average annual wind speeds over 6 m/s, the island is ripe for wind development. Environmental impact studies are underway and FNQEB hopes to install equipment in the second half of 1995.

¥ Meanwhile, Wayne Elvin of Australian Defence Industries (ADI), contractors for the 2 MW Esperance wind farm in Western Australia, said at a recent conference on renewable energy that "Toora will happen." Elvin was referring to the recently cancelled 10 MW Toora wind farm in the state of Victoria. The conference was organised by the Electricity Supply Association of Australia.

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