Four wind farms on hold over RET uncertainty

CONSTRUCTION has ground to a halt on at least four wind farms in the south-west until the Commonwealth’s review into the Renewable Energy Target is finished. 

The future of the $200 million wind farm at Mortlake south is in doubt with developer Acciona suspending work until the federal Renewable Energy Target (RET) review is completed in September this year.

According to the company the 51-turbine wind farm was due to be complete by October later this year. 

Two other wind farms at Ryan Corner, south of Orford, and Hawkesdale encompassing nearly 100 turbines are also on hold. Another smaller 20-turbine wind farm at Woolsthorpe has also stalled pending the outcome of the review. 

Documents with Moyne Shire show all four developments are now idle. 

Meanwhile, Hydro Tasmania — which is preparing a permit application for a wind farm at Mount Fyans, north of Mortlake — is withholding spending on new renewable energy projects until it has certainty about the RET. 

Acciona did not respond in time to The Standard’s questions, while Ryan Corner and Hawkesdale developer Union Fenosa acknowledged the delays late last year. 

Wind energy giant RES has also released a statement this month saying its planned 75-turbine wind farm near Ararat has been thrown into doubt.  

“It is extremely frustrating when you have a shovel-ready project which local residents and councils want to be built and are incredibly supportive of, yet you have a review of the Renewable Energy Target which creates uncertainty in the market and makes financing difficult,” RES development manager Daniel Leahy said. 

There’s strong speculation the government could shake up the 20 per cent green energy target by 2020. 

Earlier this month Treasurer Joe Hockey described wind farms as “utterly offensive”. 

 “I think they’re a blight on the landscape,” Mr Hockey told Macquarie Radio’s Alan Jones. 

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