A bipartisan deal on Australia’s Renewable Energy Target (RET) has recently been reached between the Federal Government and Labor. This deal, once legislated, has the potential to unlock the significant potential of renewable energy, after a challenging year-long review of the RET.
- The RET has been operating since 2001 and is already about halfway to meeting the revised 33,000 Gigawatt-hour (GWh) target for the Large-Scale Renewable Energy Target. A bit under 17,000 GWh of large-scale renewable energy is already being produced by the RET.
- While the 33,000 GWh compromise represents a cut in the amount of new large-scale renewable energy required by about 30 per cent by the end of the decade, it will bring major benefits to the Australian economy, particularly in rural and regional areas. The Small-scale Renewable Energy Scheme, which covers rooftop solar power and solar hot water, will continue unchanged.
- This revised target is expected to create more than $10 billion worth of investment and more than 6500 new jobs in large-scale renewable energy alone. Including the economic benefits from the small-scale scheme, the total benefit expected is $40.4 billion worth of investment and 15,200 jobs.
- To deliver the 33,000 GWh target will require approximately 6000 MW of new renewable energy capacity to be built by 2020. There are already projects with planning approval equating to approximately 6600 MW, covering wind, large-scale solar, hydro power and bioenergy technologies.
- 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.
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