According to The Australian Financial Review, global renewables developer Fotowatio Renewable Ventures has declared a target of 1 gigawatt of solar power capacity in the burgeoning local market in Australia but is cautioning the task will become more difficult unless the Renewable Energy Target (RET) is extended.
Speaking ahead of the official opening of its 56-megawatt Moree project in northern NSW on Friday, FRV Australia managing director Cameron Garnsworthy said the question for international investors was how attractive the policy environment would be once the 2020 target was reached.
"As we march towards 2020, it will get more difficult unless there are changes in the regulation longer term," Mr Garnsworthy said.
"Australia is a key market for us. [But] the question becomes how does the market evolve once we get beyond 2020. That does need to be addressed or considered by the government."
The $164 million Moree project stands as a landmark in renewables development in Australia, it being one of the few projects that survived the turbulence of the uncertainty over the RET in 2013-2014. The venture was downsized after losing funding from the former Solar Flagships initiative, while Pacific Hydro pulled out at the last minute citing political and market uncertainty.
Supported by both the Australian Renewable Energy Agency and the Clean Energy Finance Corporation, it was the first in Australia to use the "single-axis tracking" system that enables ground-mounted solar panels to track the sun across the sky.
At Moree, use of that technology increases the length of time that the plant generates power by about 30 per cent, allowing it to produce at almost full capacity from about 8:30 am until about 6:30 pm at this time of year, Mr Garnsworthy said.
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