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Australia: Energy scheme's demise 'threatens wind farms'

Hydro Tasmania says the Federal Government's decision not to extend the Mandatory Renewable Energy Targets (MRET) scheme will spell an end to wind farm development after 2008.

Hydro Tasmania says it is in a race against time to get all three of its proposed wind farms up and running by that time.

Hydro chairman David Crean says the Commonwealth's decision not to extend the MRET scheme is baffling given the worldwide concern over global warming.

"What it means is essentially, that if you haven't constructed a wind farm by 2008 then you won't be viable," he said.

Dr Crean says the company will accelerate stage three of the Woolnorth wind farm and hasten plans for wind farms at Musselroe and Heemskirk, in the state's north-east.

Federal Environment Minister Ian Campbell says it is right not to extend the MRET scheme.

"We're seeing massive investment in wind energy but we want to make sure that that's not at the expense of other greenhouse-friendly technologies," he said.

"There needs to be a balance, we believe we've got it about right."

Dr Crean says Hydro Tasmania will continue to lobby for change.

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