A planned wind farm for Ararat will go ahead after government backing.A PLANNED Ararat wind farm will go ahead after the Australian Capital Territory government announced it would power Canberra with energy from the Wimmera.
The future of RES Australia’s Ararat wind farm had been uncertain with a Federal Government review of the Renewable Energy Target and construction on hold.
The 20-year feed-in tariff will mean a significant portion of the wind farm’s total output will be contracted to the ACT.
Ararat is one of three wind farms that will provide 33 per cent of Canberra’s electricity.
RES Australia chief executive Matt Rebbeck said there would now be significant long-term investor security. He said construction would start later this year.
‘‘RES is very excited to be selected by the ACT for the feed-in tariff,’’ he said.
‘‘The award of the feed-in tariff clearly proves the Ararat wind farm is an excellent and highly competitive project and will provide the ACT with long-term, value-for-money renewable electricity.
‘‘The ACT feed-in tariff provides the cornerstone required to give certainty to investors and allow us to progress the project.’’
Ararat Mayor Paul Hooper said the announcement was great for the municipality.
‘‘There’s still the hurdle of RES locking down finance to build the thing, but with a guaranteed market, we’re optimistic we’re a lot closer than we were,’’ he said.
He said RES would be the municipality’s biggest ratepayer, allowing council to improve services without increasing rates.
‘‘RES provides on-farm income for the farmers who host the towers,’’ he said.
‘‘It will be contributing $75,000 a year in community grants for clubs and organisations and that is an enormous spin-off in building it.’’
Cr Hooper said there would be major employment opportunities and economic development in the municipality.
He said proposed wind farms in neighbouring shires would still need certainty from the Renewable Energy Target review to proceed.
‘‘There were four wind farms at risk because of the uncertainty of the RET,’’ he said.
‘‘Pyrenees has two, we have one and Northern Grampians has one, with a combined investment of nearly $1.7 billion.
‘‘The certainty in regards to the Renewable Energy Target is a significant road block to progressing these endeavours.’’
Cr Hooper said the government, the opposition and the Clean Energy Council were negotiating about the future of the target.
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