Legislation threat to 600 MW of new wind power

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Legislation intended to create a market for renewable energy in Australia could end up causing the displacement of around 600 MW of new wind power capacity, according to Rupert Posner of the Australian EcoGeneration Association (AEA). The Mandated Renewable Energy Target (MRET) has widespread support from the wind industry and is viewed as the main driver for further development, but according to AEA old hydro electric generators would meet 23% of the 9500 GWh target over the 20-year life of the program without those generators needing to invest capital in new plant. This, says Posner, has the potential to displace the need for 600 MW of wind and other renewables, reducing the total predicted potential for new wind development to 1000 MW. Roy Adair of Pacific Hydro comments that the AEA report indicates that the renewables legislation had gone "sadly awry." He feels it should not include generation from existing renewable energy stations, which would bring it in line with the model used in the United Kingdom. He adds that if the anomaly is not addressed, and the MRET target is not increased, it will signal the "still birth of this emerging industry."

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