28 February, 2017
Courtesy of Australian
Wind power generators received $600 million in federal subsidies last year, helping to drive an increase in electricity prices for consumers.
Data collated by Australian Power Project, which advocates a sustainable national energy policy, showed $588.7m was paid to wind farm operators.
Wind made up almost 75 per cent of all green power generated in a sector that was paid $790m to help reach a national renewable energy target of 23.5 per cent by 2020.
A spokeswoman for the Clean Energy Regulator said the high market share of wind generation would likely fall towards 2020 as new large-scale solar power generation came into operation.
Australian Power Project chief executive Nathan Vass, a former AGL and Fortescue Metals executive, described subsidies as a wind farm “leg-up”.
He said it was a “bonus payment” to wind generation which also sold power directly to retailers. The money was paid for generating 12.6 million large scale generation certificates for each megawatt of power.
The LGC price had led to an increase in costs for retailers, but they were able to pass this on to consumers.
“These subsidies fundamentally allow renewable energy companies to compete with stable coal and gas-fired power stations despite their inability to deliver reliable electricity,’’ Mr Vass said.
The Australian Energy Market Commission estimates that environmental and other policies account for up to 15 per cent of retail power prices, with average prices having risen 4.7 per cent last year.
Clean Energy Council chief executive Kane Thornton said the RET was helping to leverage private investment, amounting to $10 billion for large scale projects by 2020.