Ab­bott blow to wind farm

Townsville Bulletin - - NEWS - TONY RAGGATT tony. raggatt@ news. com. au

PRIME Min­is­ter Tony Ab­bott’s dis­like of wind farms could jeop­ar­dise a $ 2.5 bil­lion re­new­able energy pro­ject in North Queens­land which its pro­po­nents say would pro­vide cheaper and more sus­tain­able elec­tric­ity than a new coal­fired power sta­tion.

How­ever, the Coali­tion’s Townsville- based MP, Ewen Jones, said he would be will­ing to ar­gue the case for Hugh­en­den’s Kennedy Energy Park if it was “the best way for­ward”.

Pri­vate com­pany Wind­lab is pro­mot­ing de­vel­op­ment of a 1300 megawatt wind and so­lar farm in the Flin­ders Shire, 300km west of Townsville.

Wind­lab CEO Roger Price said the gov­ern­ment’s di­rec­tion to the Clean Energy Fi­nance Cor­po­ra­tion this month to not fund wind and rooftop so­lar was caus­ing un­cer­tainty, while its sup­port for fund­ing coal- fired power through a

What we

have found is that not only do we have a world- class wind re­source, we also have a world- class

so­lar re­source WIND­LAB CEO ROGER PRICE

$ 5 bil­lion North­ern Aus­tralia con­ces­sional loans fa­cil­ity would stack the mar­ket in favour of coal.

“Queens­land needs ad­di­tional gen­er­at­ing ca­pac­ity in North Queens­land and the mar­ket should be left to de­cide,” he said. “The $ 5 bil­lion loan fa­cil­ity for North­ern Aus­tralia is a good one but it shouldn’t be used to sub­sidise one tech­nol­ogy over another.”

Wind­lab plans an ini­tial phase of a com­bined 100MW scheme – 50: 50 wind and so­lar – re­ly­ing on ex­ist­ing trans­mis­sion in­fra­struc­ture to con­nect to the grid, while a larger pro­ject of up to 1300MW, the largest of its kind in the south­ern hemi­sphere, would re­quire an up­graded trans­mis­sion line.

“What we have found is that not only do we have a world­class wind re­source, we also have a world- class so­lar re­source,” Mr Price said.

Mr Price said the Kennedy Energy Park could de­liver power into North Queens­land at “around $ 100/ MW hour’’.

Flin­ders Shire Mayor Greg Jones said the coun­cil was sup­port­ing Wind­lab and another po­ten­tial so­lar pro­po­nent with “small” fi­nan­cial con­tri­bu­tions and called on state and fed­eral gov­ern­ments to do the same.

Herbert MP Ewen Jones said he was keen to be in­volved in an energy round­table be­ing or­gan­ised by Townsville En­ter­prise to find the best way for­ward. “I’m not philo­soph­i­cally op­posed to any­thing,” Mr Jones said. “If the best way for­ward in­cludes wind ( energy) I will ar­gue for it.”

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