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Industry hits bullseye on Renewable Energy Target more than a year early

Australia’s Large-scale Renewable Energy Target (LRET) has officially been met, delivering dozens of wind and solar projects along the way and taking the country closer to a clean energy future, the Clean Energy Council said today.

With the completion of Goldwind’s Cattle Hill Wind Farm in Tasmania, the Clean Energy Regulator has officially confirmed that enough renewable energy has now been built to guarantee that the target will be met in 2020.

Clean Energy Council Chief Executive Kane Thornton 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,” Mr Thornton said.

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

“The policy was a world first when introduced by Prime Minister Howard in 2001, which was later adopted by more than 100 countries. It was expanded under Kevin Rudd in 2009.

“The RET has delivered dozens of wind and solar farms this decade, along with tens of thousands of jobs for people in regional parts of the country and tens of billions of dollars in project investment which have created many new economic opportunities in the Australian economy,” he said.

Mr Thornton said that 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 subsidy, 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.”

“We’ve always said that if you set us a target, we will beat it. We’ve hit the bullseye with a year to go, and it’s time to start asking ourselves what comes next,” he said.

Some of the achievements of the Renewable Energy Target include:

  • The policy is the single biggest source of emissions reduction in the electricity sector
  • Taking renewable energy such as wind and solar from the most expensive form of power generation to 2001 to the lowest cost today
  • More than $24 billion of investment in the last 18 months alone, along with the creation of tens of thousands of jobs.

Please contact Mark Bretherton, Clean Energy Council Director – Media on 0413 556 981 for more information or to arrange an interview.