Renewable energy on target for billions in investment: independent analysis

Thursday, 01 November, 2012

An independent report from strategic consultancy SKM MMA shows that Australia’s 20% Renewable Energy Target has delivered $18.5 billion in investment, with the potential for $18.7 billion more if the policy is retained in its current form.

‘The Benefits of the Renewable Energy Target to Australia’s Energy Markets and Economy’, released by the Clean Energy Council last week, shows the policy has delivered a reduction in fossil-fuelled power generation since its introduction in 2001.

The Climate Change Authority is currently conducting a review of the Renewable Energy Target, which is due for completion by the end of the year. But it has come under pressure from some energy companies who have called for it to be scaled back rather than giving Australians what they consistently say they want: more clean energy.

Clean Energy Council Chief Executive David Green said that since being introduced by the Howard government in 2001 and increased by the Rudd government in 2009, the policy had reduced Australia’s carbon emissions and helped to suppress wholesale electricity prices.

“The report shows that, if left unchanged, the Renewable Energy Target will result in 12% less coal-fired generation and 13% less gas-fired generation between now and 2030, with no reliability or security of supply issues identified,” Green said.

Green said that in the face of recent news that Australia’s gas prices may rise sharply on the back of international exports, the report further demonstrates the fact that clean energy can help to protect the country against price shocks from fossil fuels.

“Retaining the current Renewable Energy Target will also mean we can meet the bulk of our target for reducing carbon emissions with renewable energy projects right here in Australia, supporting local jobs in regional areas,” Green said.

“The policy is part of a transition towards a cleaner and smarter energy system that encourages energy efficiency and renewables. But all this is under threat if governments succumb to pressure to tinker with or drop the Renewable Energy Target.

“We are confident the review will recognise the effectiveness of the current policy and the need for stability to provide investors with the confidence they need to commit funds to improving Australia’s economic security.”

The report can be downloaded here.

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