SUPPORT IN THE WIND
Solar and wind project has merit but ‘ not the only option’
PEAK development body Townsville Enterprise has backed a huge wind and solar project to provide cheap power for the region and wants it included in roundtable discussions on how to reduce energy costs.
However, the organisation is not backing away from the findings of a contentious study it led recommending a coal- fired power station as the most cost- effective option.
Renewable energy propo- nents have criticised the findings of the North and Northwest Queensland Sustainable Resource Feasibility Studies, funded by the Federal Government with a $ 2.5 million grant and drawing on consultants including GHD and ACIL Allen.
The studies support development of a coal- fired power station at a coal mine in the northern Galilee Basin, showing the price of coal- fired power at less than $ 100 per megawatt hour, with wind power almost at that rate and with solar at more than twice that cost.
Windlab CEO Roger Price, proposing a $ 2.5 billion wind and solar scheme near
Things are moving so fast in renewable
energy WINDLAB CEO ROGER PRICE
Hughenden, said it could provide electricity at “around $ 100 ( per MW hour)” and less than new coal- fired power.
Mr Price said the figures relied on in the Townsville Enterprise report were wrong.
“We don’t think it has the economics quite correct, particularly because things are moving so fast in renewable energy,” Mr Price said.
Mr Price said he “challenged anyone” who thought new coal- fired power could be delivered anywhere near $ 100/ MW hour.
Townsville Enterprise economic development manager Tracey Lines said Windlab’s project was “exciting” and believed it should be included among proposals which could access the Federal Government’s $ 5 billion Northern Australia concessional loan facility.
However, she stood by the findings of the sustainable resource feasibility studies.
“I wouldn’t say they are wrong but anyone who says they fully understand the energy market is fibbing,” Ms Lines said.
She said Townsville Enterprise’s position was that the cost of energy needed to be reduced for households, businesses and heavy industry and that solutions would come from areas including improved regulation and not a single project, whether it was renewable or coal- fired.
“There is no single project that would fix the price of energy,” Ms Lines said.
Ms Lines said Townsville Enterprise would host an energy roundtable meeting in the next few weeks and hoped Windlab would be involved in discussions.