Will Labor Commit to a 500mW Solar Farm?
The Australian Federal Labor Governments credentials on the ‘Green’ economy will be tested in April 2012 when the proposed Canberra 500 Million Watt solar farm south of Wallaroo in the A.C.T. is due for approval or not – There has been a fierce debate raging over the A.G.L. based scheme (see http://www.agl.com.au/about/Pages/RenewableEnergy.aspx for details) and its proponents, particuarly The Greens have been using this solar farm, which consists of over 4000 sun tracking solar panels and a unique Australian design solar inverter technology (to convert the solar power to usable a.c. electricity that we receive from the grid), as a test case to essentially put Labor’s ‘renewable energy’ policies to the test.
When the Labor Government released its proposal for their much derided Carbon Tax (see earlier posts), one of their cornerstone factors for CO2 reduction was through solar, wind, hot rock and low CO2 gas emitting modes of electricity production. Given that solar electricity produces around 40 times less CO2 than coal fired electricity production (Source: http://actsolar.com.au/solar-and-the-environment/) and has a cost of production in this instance of around 3 times that of coal based electricity generation, it seems like a reasonable proposition for the Government to back the scheme.
The Green’s leader has, on many occasions pushed for solar power implementation, not only at a domestic ‘roof top solar’ level, but at the larger commercial ‘solar farm’ level. Companies like A.G.L. and Origin Energy and the likes are looking to partner with major European solar players like Siemens to potentially bring over 2 Gwatts of solar electricity onto the grid by 2014.
The smaller scale Walkaway solar farm located south of Geraldton has proven the viability of Australian Solar Farming and the Canberra based Wallaroo solar plant could feed around 160,000 homes potentially. We watch with interest.