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Wednesday, 2 May 1984
Page: 1528

(Question No. 725)

Senator Mason asked the Minister for Resources and Energy, upon notice, on 27 March 1984:

(1) Is the Minister for Resources and Energy aware that the average cost of electricity delivered to New South Wales county councils is 4.5c per kilowatt and that this is greater than the Minister's figure for wind generated electricity in Denmark, given in reply in Senator Cook's question without notice on 2 March 1984.

(2) Is the Minister aware that the southern coastline of Australia is windier than most of Denmark, and hence wind generated electricity in this area may be cheaper than in Denmark.

(3) Will the Minister undertake to re-evaluate the priority of wind energy in his Department in view of these facts.

Senator Walsh —The answer to the honourable senator's question is as follows:

(1) Yes. However, the cost per kilowatt hour of electricity from a wind generator depends critically on the wind energy resources at the particular site . As I said on 2 March, the cost figures for wind-generated electricity in Denmark were at the point of production, not the point of delivery; nor did they include an allowance for the cost of additional generating plant required to ensure that electricity is available when there is no wind. The cost of generating electricity from wind in Denmark is not directly comparable with the cost of purchasing electricity generated in New South Wales. I also noted in my reply to Senator Cook that the Danish figures were supplied by manufacturers of the equipment.

(2) Concerning the honourable senator's assertion about wind in Australia and Denmark the fact is that some sites on the southern Australian coastline have good wind energy resources and at others the wind resources are poor. Further investigations are needed to establish the extent of Australia's wind energy resources and the contribution they could make to energy supply. Such studies are being conducted, with support from the national energy research, development and demonstration (NERDD) program, for Tasmania, Lord Howe Island and western New South Wales. In addition similar studies are being carried out in New South Wales, Victoria and Western Australia with support from the respective State governments.

(3) Priorities within the NERDD program are reviewed annually and decisions on future priorities for wind energy will take into account the results of the studies I have previously mentioned. In view of the general level of support currently being provided for wind energy by both Commonwealth and State governments. I see no reason to re-evaluate the medium priority accorded to wind energy at present.