Infigen Energy CEO, Miles George, stated that investment in new renewable energy projects is beginning to ramp up. It appears that the energy market itself is largely responsible, and rising spot and forward prices for renewable energy are creating incentives for new builds.
There has been a big change in attitude in the major Australian energy retailers who are now ready to talk about large scale renewable projects in terms of five to ten year commitments.
Infigen is trying to fill in the gap between existing supply and the required build to meet the Renewable Energy Targets. This is about 1000MW per annum, but because it takes two years to build a wind farm, Infigen needs to get 2000MW up for 2017.
According to George the capacity gap will eventually be filled by a mix of renewables technologies, but wind farms are likely to dominate while large-scale solar would probably make up around 20 per cent of the requirement.
For Infigen’s part, the now purely Australian company has two large-scale solar projects shortlisted in the ARENA tender process – Manildra and Capital Solar – and according to George, is participating in a number of other state and privately run tender processes underway at the moment.
These range from the Queensland government-owned Ergon Energy tender for 150MW, in which Infigen has a wind project shortlisted, to dealings with private sector participants who need to meet their RET obligations.
These are welcome signs for the renewables industry which narrowly avoided obliteration under the recent Abbott government.
According to George the most important thing for a program like the Renewable Energy Target is to have policy stability, and in that regard the new Prime Minister is much more attuned to what business needs.
Read also Self-drive Renewable Energy Trail for a look at the start of the South Eastern Region Renewable Energy Trail, a self-drive tour showcasing the region as a renewable energy precinct.