Statistics released by the Bureau of Resources and Energy Economics show that power station development has stalled, with just two projects — both windfarms — worth $488 million completed in the 12 months to October.

This compares with 11 projects worth $3.13bn in the previous year and 17 projects worth $4.51bn in 2009.


The report details electricity generation projects at various stages of development around Australia and with a capacity of more than 30 megawatts.


At the end of October 2011, 19 projects were at an advanced stage of development (defined as ‘committed’ or ‘under construction’) with an estimated generation capacity of 2668 megawatts and a capital cost of $4.8 billion. There were ten advanced renewable energy projects, including seven wind projects; two hydro upgrade projects and one solar thermal project. These renewable projects have a combined capacity of 1233 megawatts, or around 46 per cent of the capacity of projects at an advanced stage of development.


BREE’s Executive Director and Chief Economist, Professor Quentin Grafton said “gas-fired and wind-powered projects account for around three-quarters of the projects at an advanced stage of development and are expected to make a large contribution to Australia’s electricity supply over the next few years”.


Gas-fired projects accounted for more than two-thirds of the announced capacity of advanced non-renewable projects, with black coal-fired projects accounting for 32 per cent.


“There is strong interest in the development of gas-fired generation because it is a relatively low-cost, mature technology with a lower emissions intensity than some other non-renewable options” Professor Grafton said.


Advanced renewable electricity projects were dominated by wind power developments (total capacity of 1099 megawatts), which represented 89 per cent of advanced stage renewable electricity generation capacity.


Professor Grafton said “the large number of proposed wind-powered electricity projects reflects, in part, government policy measures to support the expansion of renewable energy sources and the cost competitiveness of wind relative to other, less mature renewable energy technologies”.


A further 167 projects were identified as being at a less advanced stage of development (undergoing feasibility studies and/or awaiting approval), of which 114 plan to use renewable energy sources.


In 2009–10, 75 per cent of electricity generation in Australia was coal-fired, followed by gas (15 per cent) and renewable 8 per cent (hydro 5 per cent, wind 2 per cent).


For free downloads of the Major Electricity Generation Projects November 2011 report, please visit the BREE Publications Page.