SYDNEY - Wind farms account for about a quarter of Australian electricity generating developments now under construction or planned as the country moves to increase its reliance on renewable energy, a government report said on Wednesday.
The Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics said renewable energy sources accounted for only 3 percent of Australia's electricity generating capacity in 2007/08, according to the latest figures available.
But the country's new renewable energy laws, passed in August, were encouraging the development of new projects. Under those laws, Australia increased its target for renewable energy to 45,000 gigawatt hours by 2020 from a previous target of 9,500 gigawatt hours in 2010.
Coal-fired electricity generation remained the major source of power, accounting for 81 percent of capacity in 2007/08.
In the six months to October, ABARE said there were seven electricity generation projects completed in Australia, comprising one coal, one coal seam gas, two gas and three wind powered projects that in total delivered 1,582 megawatts of extra capacity.
It said nine out of 18 new generation projects at advanced stages of development as of October 31 were renewable energy projects with eight being wind farms and one a hydro-electricity scheme.
Combined the nine projects would produce 873 megawatts out of 3,569 megawatts of new capacity under development, equivalent to about 7 percent of Australia's total generating capacit.
ABARE said the largest renewable project was the A$300 million ($279 million), 111 megawatt Waterloo wind farm in South Australia state by renewable energy firm Roaring 40s.
($1=1.076 Australian Dollar)
(Reporting by Bruce Hextall)