Energy in the Australian Capital Territory
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Energy in the Australian Capital Territory

Royalla Solar Farm
Mount Majura solar farm
Mugga Lane Solar Park
Willamsdale solar farm

Energy produced in the Australian Capital Territory mainly consists of solar electricity. Electricity consumed in the Australian Capital Territory mainly comes from the national power grid through substations at Holt and Fyshwick (via Queanbeyan).[1] The ACT currently mandates that 90 percent of its electricity, amounting to 550 megawatts, will be supplied from renewable sources by 2020. The ACT has four solar farms capable of generating about 36 megawatts. From 1913 until the mid 1950s some power was produced from the Kingston Powerhouse, a thermal power station in Kingston.

Renewable power supply targets

The ACT government announced in 2013 that under the ACT's Electricity Feed in (Large Scale Renewable Energy Generation) Act, the ACT would mandate that 90 percent of its electricity would be supplied from renewable sources by 2020.[2] This will raise the target from 210 to 550 megawatts.[3] It announced in February 2015 that three wind farms in Victoria and South Australia would supply 200 megawatts of capacity; these are expected to be operational by 2017. They are Ararat Wind Farm (80.5MW, $87.00/MWh), Coonooer Bridge Wind Farm (19.4MW, $81.50/MWh) and Hornsdale Wind Farm (100MW, $92.00/MWh).[4] Contracts for the purchase of an additional 200 megawatts of power per year from two wind farms in South Australia and New South Wales were announced in December 2015 and March 2016. These were Hornsdale Wind Farm (100MW, $77.00/MWh) and Sapphire Wind Farm (100MW, $89.10/MWh).[5][6] The ACT government announced in 2014 that up to 23 megawatts of feed-in-tariff entitlements would be made available for the establishment of a facility in the ACT or surrounding region for burning household and business waste to produce electricity by 2020.[7]

Solar power

The ACT has four major solar farms with a total rated capacity of 56.3 megawatts, which were opened between 2014 and 2017.

The Royalla Solar Farm is rated at 20 megawatts and was described at its opening as the largest photovoltaic solar farm in Australia. It was officially opened at Royalla on 3 September 2014.[8] The plant features 82,000 solar panels, installed on 41 kilometers of fixed structures. It was developed by the Spanish company Fotowatio Renewable Ventures (FRV).[9][10]

The Mount Majura Solar Farm was opened in Majura on 6 October 2016.[11] It is rated at 2.3 megawatt and is owned and operated by the Impact Investment Group.[12]

The Mugga Lane Solar Park at Mugga Lane, Hume is owned by the Maoneng Group, which has been contracted by the ACT Government to produce up to 24,600 megawatt hours each year for up to $4.38 million. It has a rated output of 13 megawatts and contains 53,000 solar PV panels. It was completed in March 2017.[13][14]

The Williamsdale Solar Farm is an 11 megawatt solar farm at Williamsdale. It uses a single axis sun-tracking system and is owned by Impact Investment Group. Construction was completed on in October 2017.[15][16] This was originally planned to be built at Uriarra but faced local opposition.[17][18]

In addition numerous houses in Canberra have photovoltaic panels and/or solar hot water systems. Power produced by rooftop panels in 2015-16 is set out below. Note that the power produced by retail supported systems was only included if it was fed back into the grid. Power consumed locally was not recorded.

Rooftop solar power capacity in the ACT in 2015-16[19]
Feed-in tariff supported Retailer supported Total
No of Generators 10,304 7,406 17,710
Installed capacity (MW) 26.3 25.2 51.5
Production (MWh) 34,910 28,815 63,725

Thermal Power

Kingston Powerhouse

Power was first supplied from a thermal plant built in 1913, near the Molonglo River, but this was finally closed in 1957.[20][21] This was built as a coal-fired thermal power station, but an additional oil fired-generator was also installed at the same site in the post-war period.

Other sources of electricity

Some limited local renewable power is produced via a hydro generator on the main water supply pipeline for Canberra at Mount Stromlo and methane plants at waste landfill sites at Belconnen and Mugga Lane.[22][23] There are currently no wind-power generators in Canberra, but several have been built or are being built or planned in nearby New South Wales, such as the 140.7 megawatt Capital Wind Farm.

References

  1. ^ Independent Competition and Regulatory Commission (October 2003). "Review of Contestable Electricity Infrastructure Workshop" (PDF). p. 13. Archived from the original (PDF) on 20 April 2013. Retrieved 2010.
  2. ^ "ACT sets 90% renewable energy target in law" (Press release). ACT Government. 4 November 2013. Retrieved 2014.
  3. ^ "Large scale feed-in tariff law expanded to meet 90% renewables target" (Press release). ACT Government. 27 February 2014. Retrieved 2014.
  4. ^ "Wind auction result delivers renewable energy and economic benefits to the ACT" (Press release). ACT Government. 6 February 2015. Retrieved 2015.
  5. ^ "Hornsdale achieves new record price in ACT's second wind auction" (Press release). ACT Government. 21 December 2015. Retrieved 2016.
  6. ^ "New wind farm set to power more than just Canberra homes" (Press release). ACT Government. 4 March 2016. Retrieved 2016.
  7. ^ "Turning waste into energy" (Press release). ACT Government. 7 March 2014. Retrieved 2014.
  8. ^ "Australia's largest solar farm opens in the ACT" (Press release). ACT Government. 3 September 2014. Retrieved 2014.
  9. ^ "Royalla Solar Farm". Fotowatio Renewable Ventures. Archived from the original on 19 October 2014. Retrieved 2014.
  10. ^ "RFV 20 MW Royalla Solar Farm". Acciona Australia. Archived from the original on 30 March 2017. Retrieved 2017.
  11. ^ "Mount Majura Solar Farm powers up in ACT". Solar Choice. 11 October 2016. Retrieved 2016.
  12. ^ "Mt Majura Solar Farm will 'save lives', operators say". The Canberra Times. 19 July 2017. Archived from the original on 12 September 2017. Retrieved 2017.
  13. ^ "Mugga Lane solar farm opens, bringing ACT to 35 per cent renewable energy". The Canberra Times. 2 March 2017. Archived from the original on 2 March 2017. Retrieved 2017.
  14. ^ "Overview of the Mugga Lane Solar Park". Mugga Lane Solar Park. Archived from the original on 20 December 2016. Retrieved 2017.
  15. ^ "Government unveils 36,000 new solar panels at Williamsdale". The Canberra Times. 5 October 2017. Archived from the original on 29 November 2017. Retrieved 2017.
  16. ^ "The Impact Investment Group's Williamsdale Solar Farm". Diamond Energy. Archived from the original on 5 October 2017. Retrieved 2017.
  17. ^ "Uriarra residents fail to heritage list village, stop solar farm". ABC News. 22 January 2014. Retrieved 2014.
  18. ^ "Uriarra solar farm relocated to Williamsdale". The Canberra Times. 24 March 2015. Retrieved 2017.
  19. ^ "2015-16 Annual Feed-in Tariff Report" (PDF). ACT Government. p. 7. Archived (PDF) from the original on 9 March 2017. Retrieved 2017.
  20. ^ "The Founding of Canberra". The Sydney Morning Herald. 14 March 1913. p. 5. Archived from the original on 18 February 2014.
  21. ^ "20048. Kingston Powerhouse Historic Precinct (Entry to the ACT Heritage Register)" (PDF). ACT Heritage Council. Retrieved 2014.
  22. ^ "Open the floodgates... Hydroelectricity". ActewAGL. Archived from the original on 2 March 2014. Retrieved 2014.
  23. ^ "Renewable gas sources". ActewAGL. Archived from the original on 27 February 2014. Retrieved 2014.

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