Australia's Renewable Energy Target (RET) is a Federal Government policy designed to ensure that at least 33,000 Gigawatt-hour (GWh) of Australia's electricity comes from renewable sources by 2020.
The RET was reviewed by the Government and reduced in June 2015 from the previously legislated 41,000 GWh to 33,000 GWh. The deal was a compromise brokered by the Clean Energy Council following 15 months of lost investment confidence caused by the review of the policy.
While the Clean Energy Council is disappointed by the level of the reduction of the target, an agreement on the RET now opens the way to unlock massive investment and job opportunities in Australia. The RET agreement also removed previously legislated RET reviews which were to occur every two years which compounded the lack of investment confidence.
The RET has been operating since 2001 and is already about halfway to meeting the revised 33,000 GWh target.
The Clean Energy Council's campaign
Our campaign to save the Renewable Energy Target was massive, including more than 300 meetings with politicians, 11 briefing papers and reports and 50+ media releases.
They key points from the deal:
- To deliver the 33,000 GWh target will require approximately 6000 MW of new renewable energy capacity to be built by 2020.
- The revised target is expected to create more than $40.4 billion worth of investment1 and more than 15,200 jobs2.
- Between 30-50 major projects are likely to be built in the next five years to meet the target, along with hundreds of medium-scale solar projects from commercial and industrial businesses looking to manage their own electricity production and consumption.
- The target is enough electricity to power the equivalent of at least 5 million average homes for a year
For further details about the Renewable Energy Target you can read our briefing paper.
New projects announced
Since the introduction of the revised legislation, investment has already started flowing back in to the renewable energy sector including the following investment announcements:
- More than 20 new renewable energy projects creating more than 3000 jobs and $5 billion of investment
- The $450 million Ararat Wind Farm in western Victoria signed the first major contract since the RET was passed
- Goldwind’s White Rock Wind Farm in NSW successfully negotiated the connection of 70 wind turbines to the state’s transmission system
- Windlab announced that construction of the $50 million Coonooer Bridge Wind Farm in western Victoria will commence
- RATCH announced a $100 million solar power plant in Collinsville, QLD
About the Renewable Energy Target
The RET consists of two main schemes:
- the Large-scale Renewable Energy Target (LRET), which creates a financial incentive for more and larger renewable energy power stations
- the Small-scale Renewable Energy Scheme (SRES), which encourages owners to install small-scale renewable energy systems such as rooftop solar, solar water heaters, heat pumps, and small-scale wind and hydro systems.
Benefits of the Renewable Energy Target
The Renewable Energy Target doesn't cost much – in fact, in the long run, it will save every Australian household up to $140 on their electricity bill each year. It also provides huge economic and community benefits, especially in regional areas.
Three facts about the Renewable Energy Target:
- Australian households will save hundreds of dollars on their power bills thanks to the Renewable Energy Target.
- It generates investment in homegrown Australian industry.
- It has created tens of thousands of Australian jobs, with thousands more on the way.
Find out more:
- Read an analysis of the RET that shows power prices will be lower with the RET.
- Find out the real reasons power prices have increased, and what we can do about it
- Discover the many benefits the RET offers rural and regional Australia in a case study of the Nyngan and Broken Hill solar plants
- Examine the issues associated with the current surplus of generation in the Australian energy market
- Explore the implications of an increased RET exemption for aluminium smelting
1. Clean Energy Council briefing paper - A bipartisan Renewable Energy Target: The huge opportunities for Australia
2. Clean Energy Council briefing paper - A bipartisan Renewable Energy Target: The huge opportunities for Australia