(BN) Australia Clean Energy Project Growth Slows on Fund Constraints


Australia Clean Energy Project Growth Slows on Fund Constraints
2010-12-21 02:24:26.263 GMT

By James Paton
Dec. 21 (Bloomberg) -- Australia's electricity output from
new wind, hydro and solar power plants dropped almost 80 percent
this year as projects struggled to arrange financing, said a
group representing the industry.
Seventeen "large-scale" renewable energy power plants,
led by wind farms, started operation in 2010 to add 210
megawatts of capacity to the nation's electricity grid, the
Clean Energy Council said in a report released today. That
compares with the 993 megawatts that came on line in 2009.
The Australian government, which aims to get 20 percent of
the country's electricity from renewable sources by 2020, is
adjusting incentives from next month to encourage larger
renewable projects and spur a revival in investment.
The new arrangement "should go a significant way towards
returning some stability and supporting renewable energy
investment in Australia," according to the Council, which
represents 450 wind, hydro, solar, wave and geothermal
A surge in household installations of solar systems,
encouraged by subsidies, caused a glut in Australian Renewable
Energy Certificates, driving down their price and discouraging
investment in large-scale ventures, the report said. Clean-power
generators sell the RECs to electricity retailers to make the
projects more profitable.

Solar Surge

The country has 11 large renewable energy projects under
construction that are expected to add 1,045 megawatts of
capacity, the Council said. AGL Energy Ltd., the Australian
electricity retailer, committed in August to a A$1 billion ($990
million) wind farm in Victoria due to start in 2013.
Australian households installed more than 100,000 solar
power systems in 2010, compared with 81,232 between 2000 and
2009, driven by government subsidies, the study found.
"Governments of all levels have vastly underestimated the
Australian public's appetite for solar power over the past 18
months -- and for the uptake of systems under a range of
different incentives," the Council said.
Renewable energy accounts for about 8.7 percent of
electricity generated in Australia, it said in the report.
Growth in the industry will create more than 55,000 jobs by
2020, in addition to the 8,000 current positions, the Council

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--Editors: John Viljoen, Peter Langan

To contact the reporter on this story:
James Paton in Sydney +61-2-9777-8698 or jpaton4@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story:
Amit Prakash at +65-6212-1167 or aprakash1@bloomberg.net.