Sunday, June 9, 2013

Climate Policies in Coal-Dependent Australia Leading to Surging Wind Development

Climate Policies in Coal-Dependent Australia Leading to Surging Wind Development

June 07, 2013

Australia’s wind development is driven by clean energy mandates, but the Gillard government's carbon tax has rendered building new coal plants non-competitive. Export policies for fossil fuels is beginning to fast-track liquefied natural gas out of the country to supply a very lucrative market in Asia.

The result? According to a Bloomberg report, while a new natural gas plant now costs $116 a megawatt hour, wind can be built at $80 a megawatt hour.

TrustPower Generation General Manager Deion Campbell developed nearly half the wind capacity in New Zealand and is now constructing the second Snowtown wind farm in Australia, at 270 MW. Between the two countries — which combined hold fewer people than California — his team has developed close to $1 billion worth of hydro and wind in the last decade.
Gas Exports Make Wind Power Attractive

Campbell thinks the Bloomberg figure for wind is a bit low; that for NSW or Victoria, it's closer to $100 per MWh. But he sees both the gas exports and the carbon tax as increasing the underlying cost of electricity.

In addition, due to gas exports, the gas price now bounces up and down as a result of what he describes as a “lumpy trend” in supplies, which then makes the fixed price of a power purchase agreement (PPA) more attractive for wind buyers.

“There’s a period of oversupply as the new gas fields are developed, up until the next gas train is ready for production and export, following which gas will be in shorter supply, and the prices go up,” he said. A gas train is the supply chain leading to a liquefaction plant that converts Australia’s gas to liquid natural gas (LNG) for shipping to Asia.

Between the construction of each of the new shipment terminals, Campbell explained that there is a lot of gas exploration, which leads to large amounts of surplus waiting to be comissioned. "Then the cheap gas supply can cause a drop in the price of electricity, which is bad for the wind developer, so a PPA is attractive to the developer to cover downside risk," he said.

According to Monash University Economics Professor Stephen King, Australia’s sparsely populated west coast is the best place to see the result of this effect on wind prices, as that side of the continent has already been shipping out LNG from the North West Shelf for several years, keeping gas prices bouncing at high levels for some time.

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Comment by Anumakonda Jagadeesh

There is vast scope to setup large Wind Farms in India. In fact Australia has long history of Windmills for water pumping.

Windmills are proven technology that offers superior benefits over any other pumping system. They can operate in conditions that other systems find impossible, but best of all they outlast all other mechanical methods of moving water. Their demand for maintenance is less, the range of application is greater, anyone can install them, and they use no fuel.

Where can a Windmill be used?

Windmills can be used whereever water is required.
Stock Water - Sheep, Cattle, Horses, etc
Domestic applications - household water for drinking, sanitation, and washing
Irrigation - for house and vegetible gardens
Filling dams, reservoirs, fish ponds, lakes
Dewatering wet lands
Removal of salt laden water
Water for industry
Waste water removal
Medication of ground water
Water for schools, public buildings, recreational areas, etc

It is high time water pumping windmills with latest technology revived and so are small wind turbines for decentralised power and battery charging.

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