Australia's renewable energy industry sees jobs surge as wind farms boom

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Canberra Wind farm
Low rain clouds pass over wind turbines operating at the Capital Wind Farm near Tarago, north of Australia's capital, Canberra, July 9, 2014. Reuters/Jason Reed

Australia’s renewable energy industry saw a job surge in December amid a boom in wind farms. The sector recorded 17 percent of employment growth last month.

There are currently 15,691 renewable energy jobs all over Australia. It rose to 21,168, including those in small-scale rooftop solar installation. This is a 17 percent month on month jump from job figures in the previous month.

The increasing number of wind farms across Australia accounts for up to 71 percent of total renewable energy jobs. The number of currently operating wind farms has gone to 79. Another six is expected to be built in 2018.

“While many Australians proudly think of the Snowy Hydro Electric Scheme as a great construction and power engineering achievement, its power generation is now dwarfed by wind power,” Sydney Morning Herald reports research firm Green Energy Markets as saying. The firm said that the wind farm currently under construction will produce twice as much power per annum as the Snowy Hydro scheme. It aims to supply five times more electricity per annum than that of the Snowy scheme when combined with wind farms already in operation.

The new wind and large-scale solar projects are expected to generate over 10 terawatts hours of energy. That is equal to Tasmania’s entire power consumption. The Murra Warra wind farm near Horsham in Victoria will be the largest. The University of Melbourne, Telstra, ANZ and Coca-Cola Amatil signed up in December to pre-purchase the energy generated from what was set to be the largest wind farm in the southern hemisphere.

On Thursday, AusNet Services (ASX: AST) announced that an agreement to develop a new transmission connection for the 80 MW Crowlands Wind Farm project in the Pyrenees Shire Council in western Victoria was secured with Pacific Hydro. The wind farm, once fully commissioned, will include 39 turbines with total capacity of 80 MW.

It will also produce clean energy equivalent to the annual needs of about 50,000 Victorian homes. The wind farm will be connected to AusNet Services’ Victorian transmission network through the terminal station.

Chad Hymas, AusNet Services’ executive general manager commercial energy services, said that AusNet Services support renewable energy and wind farm development in Australia. “This is an exciting time to be in the renewable energy sector. We are proud to partner with Pacific Hydro, and together, collectively progress in building Australia’s renewable energy future,” he said in a statement.

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