Australia is on track to meet the 2020 Large-scale Renewable Energy Target (LRET) of 33,000 GWh of additional renewable energy, with the Clean Energy Regulator approving enough capacity to guarantee achievement of the target.
“It is now certain Australia will generate enough renewable energy to meet the 2020 Large-scale Renewable Energy Target,” said Clean Energy Regulator Chair David Parker.
The Clean Energy Regulator stated that 6400 MW of large-scale renewable capacity had to be built between 2017 and 2019 to generate sufficient electricity to meet the target. This milestone was met on 30 August 2019 with the approval of four large wind and solar power stations, with a combined capacity of 406 MW.
The approval of the 148.5 MW Cattle Hill Wind Farm, owned by Goldwind and partners, saw the milestone surpassed.
“Not only did Goldwind kick off the momentum of renewable energy investments, their Cattle Hill Wind Farm pushed us over the 6400 MW of renewable energy capacity.
“We are currently tracking another 6410 MW of renewable energy to be built over the coming years. While future investment faces a number of constraints, this is by no means the end of renewable energy investment in Australia, with markets continuing to innovate and adapt to opportunities and challenges,” Parker said.
The energy industry announced that achieving the LRET in 2020 represents an important step in the transition to a low-emissions electricity grid.
Australian Energy Council Chief Executive Sarah McNamara said, “We have had a bipartisan national renewable energy target in place since 2009, which has been very successful in driving investment in large-scale wind and solar generation.
“In other good news, the costs of [renewable] technologies continue to fall. This means we no longer need direct policy intervention to encourage investment in renewables, as we anticipate investment in renewable capacity will be ongoing. But it is not yet ‘mission accomplished’. The energy market transition still requires careful planning. More renewables are part of the solution, not the solution itself,” McNamara said.
“Now government and industry need to think beyond the RET’s conclusion in 2020 to work out how to continue the journey of decarbonisation for the energy sector, while ensuring reliable supply at the lowest possible cost to consumers.”