Boost For Renewable Energy Investment

Boost For Renewable Energy Investment
Government has changed Australia’s renewable energy target scheme to give industry groups more certainty, splitting it into two, so large-scale renewable energy projects don’t have to suffer investment disadvantage from smaller scale projects, such as solar panels and solar hot water systems. Clean Energy Council welcomes the move and WWF would like to see the renewables target increased from 20% by 2020 to 40% by 2030.
ABC News Report (26 February 2010)::
The Federal Government says it is making changes to its renewable energy target scheme to give industry groups more certainty.
The scheme will be split into two to separate large-scale renewable energy projects such as commercial solar plants, wind farms and geothermal from small-scale projects such as solar panels and solar hot water systems.
The Government says the changes mean the scheme is likely to exceed its target of 20 per cent of energy coming from renewable sources by 2020.
Small-scale projects will have a fixed price of $40 per megawatt hour for produced electricity.
Climate Change Minister Penny Wong says the changes will address concerns that large projects were being crowded out by smaller-scale initiatives.
“We are being very clear with the large-scale sector. This target has to be met by you from your investment. That gives that market the investment certainty they want to drive the investments that the nation needs in clean energy jobs,” she said.
Greens Senator Christine Milne has welcomed the changes.
“The Greens have been pointing out since day one that there would be problems with this, with the collapse in the price by including energy efficiency measures inside the target,” she said.
“We had our own private member’s bill to fix it and I’m glad the Government has finally listened to people in the industry and the Parliament who saw the problem.”
WWF announced (1 March 2010):
WWF today welcomed the Australian Government’s proposal to split the Renewable Energy Target (RET) into two parts – the Small-scale Renewable Energy Scheme (SRES) and the Large-scale Renewable Energy Target.
It is hoped the division will encourage investment in large scale base-load technologies, like solar thermal, geothermal and wave energy.
“The two schemes are a good starting point, however we would like to see the RET amended so that it encourages simultaneous development of all emerging large-scale zero emission technologies,” said Nicole Ikenberg, WWF’s Climate Change Policy Manager.
“It is vital the Government finds a way to level the playing field so that investment in renewable energy technologies can be spread evenly across the sector.”
Research commissioned for WWF consistently shows that developing all low emissions electricity – generation technologies simultaneously is essential to transform the economy quickly enough to avoid runaway climate change.
Indications the scheme could allow the renewable energy target to be exceeded were also welcomed by WWF. Achieving a renewable energy target of greater than 20 per cent by 2020 would put Australia in a strong position to continue to increase renewable energy generation out to 2030.
“We would like to see this target increased to 40 per cent by 2030,” said Ms Ikenberg.
“If we genuinely intend to transform our economy in a way that addresses the threat of climate change we have no choice but to increase our ambition. A 40 per cent target by 2030 is realistic, practical and affordable.”
Clean Energy Council release (26 February 2010):
Renewable energy scheme changes ‘on the money’
NATIONAL: The clean energy industry says changes to the renewable energy target announced today will deliver stalled multi-million dollar commercial projects as well as supporting household scale technologies such as solar panels and solar hot water systems.

“The Rudd Government has got it right with this announcement,” said Clean Energy Council chief executive Matthew Warren.

“The clean energy industry has been discussing structural design issues with the current Renewable Energy Target since late last year. The Rudd Government has listened carefully to industry advice and today has acted decisively and effectively.

“Our main concern was to improve the design of the RET to ensure that it delivered both industrial scale generation projects as well as the continued development and deployment of household technologies like solar panels and hot water. Today’s announcement addresses this problem.

“We will continue to work with the government to ensure the final legislation is effective and efficient.

“These changes clear the path for the clean energy industry to play its crucial role in driving down the cost of clean energy whilst cutting Australia’s greenhouse emissions.

“This is good news for jobs and investment in the renewable energy industry,” Mr Warren said.

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