Australia set to achieve renewables target one year ahead of schedule

Australia will officially meet the obligations of its Large-scale Renewable Energy Target (LRET) one year ahead of schedule, Australia’s Clean Energy Council has announced.

The target, introduced in 2001, was for Australia to generate 33,000 GWh of power from large-scale renewable energy by 2020. The Clean Energy Regulator stated in 2016 that 6,400 MW of renewable capacity would need to be built between 2017 and 2019 to generate enough electricity to meet the target.

With the completion of Goldwind’s 148 MW Cattle Hill Wind Farm in Tasmania, the Clean Energy Regulator has officially confirmed that enough renewable energy capacity has now been approved to guarantee that the target would be met. 

Renewables projects have received a total of AUD$24bn of investment in the last 18 months alone. Overall, renewable energy contributes approximately 21% of Australia’s total generation.

Kane Thornton, Chief Executive of the Clean Energy Council, said meeting the target had been a massive effort for the clean energy industry for close to two decades, which had transformed renewable energy from one of the most expensive kinds of energy generation to the cheapest.

‘It shows what is possible when our major political parties agree to put aside their differences and work together to achieve a shared, ambitious goal,’ Thornton said.

‘The LRET is the most successful emissions reduction policy of all time for Australia’s electricity system,’ he continued. ‘At a time when people are becoming increasingly concerned about climate change, the LRET has been one of the bright spots which is making our electricity system cleaner, cheaper and more reliable.’

Thornton said with the news that the industry will far exceed the target, the question should now turn to what comes next.

‘The industry doesn’t need new subsidies – we just need certainty. Renewable energy can continue to create opportunities for regional parts of the country for many decades with the right policies in place.’

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