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South Australia sets 50% renewable energy target for 2025

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The Labor government in South Australia has announced it will increase its renewable energy target to 50 per cent by 2025 – up from the 33 per cent target that it has already met, six years ahead of scheduled date of 2020.

The announcement was made by Premier Jay Weatherill on Tuesday, saying that it was essential to help reach its target of $10 billion investment in “low carbon” generation by 2025.

According to government modelling, around $4.5 billion has already been committed in the state. South Australia already has nearly 1.5GW of wind energy – more than 40 per cent of the nation’s total, and more than 550MW of rooftop solar, or nearly one if four houses.

Together, those installations are likely to account for up to 40 per cent of demand in 2014/15, and wind farms such as the $1.5 billion Ceres projects, and others such as the 270MW Horndale project could take that investment to 50 per cent.

“This new target of half of the States power to be generated by renewable sources will create jobs and drive capital investment and advanced manufacturing industries,” Weatherill said in a statement.

But he said South Australia will only meet its target if the Federal Government maintains the current Renewable Energy Target Scheme arrangements.

“The sovereign risk created by the Federal Government’s unnecessary and unexplained review into the national RET has caused a number of projects to be placed on hold, putting many construction projects and ongoing jobs at risk,” Weatherill said.

“There are hundreds, if not thousands of SA jobs in the renewable energy sector – these are the growth areas we should be supporting, not undermining.”

(RenewEconomy asked the Premier’s press people if SA was considering an independent target of 50 per cent, regardless of federal policy – like the 90 per cent target of the ACT – but has not gotten a response as yet).

windThe Premier’s statement noted that updated numbers from the Australian Energy Market Operator expected this month are likely to show SA has exceeded the target of 33 per cent. The latest project, the 275MW Snowtown wind farm, has only just been commissioned, so will add to that figure in the current year.

“We took action at the local level, passing the nation’s first dedicated climate change legislation and were the first State with a strategy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions,” Weatherill said.

“We have demonstrated in South Australia is that, with the right policies and incentives, and with strong leadership and clear goals, even highly ambitious targets can be achieved and surpassed.

Solar Citizens Campaigns Director, Claire O’Rourke, said the SA achievement demonstrated the benefits of increasing opportunities for rooftop solar which helps households reduce their power bills.

“The SA Government has shown strong leadership in creating a solar revolution where nearly a quarter (23%) of South Australian homes are now powered by the sun,” O’Rourke said in a statement.

“The Abbott Government should look closely at what’s been achieved in South Australia and follow its lead by maintaining and growing the Target.

Meanwhile, the heads of Australia’s major large-scale solar projects converged on Canberra today, to continue their fight to save the Renewable Energy Target.

Business leaders from international companies including First Solar, Fotowatio Renewable Ventures (FRV) and SunPower will meet with key ministers and parliamentarians to remind them how crucial the RET has been, and continues to be, to get large-scale solar projects up and running in Australia.

“We’ll be telling them that if the RET is slashed, the future looks grim for large-scale solar in Australia,” Clean Energy Council acting chief Kane Thornton said.

“Already, investment in renewable energy projects has drastically reduced, thanks to the uncertainty surrounding the RET generated by the Federal Government’s Warburton review”, Thornton said.

“Investors in utility-scale solar projects need to feel the funds they are committing are secure before they will come on board,” said SunPower Australia’s Wilf Johnston.

“Since its introduction in 2001, the RET has provided that security for developers. Without it, it will be much harder for them to decide to support Australian projects,” he said.

Key federal government cabinet ministers are expected to decide in coming days whether they will keep the RET as it is, or not.

More than 1,000 renewable energy companies, workers and supporters have also signed up to attend major events in Australia’s capital cities this Friday to protest the axing of the RET.

The event marks the first time Solar Citizens, the Clean Energy Council, Australian Solar Council, the Solar Energy Industries Association and the Australian Wind Alliance have united to protest the unprecedented attacks on renewable jobs, growth and investment.

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  • barrie harrop

    Take note PM.

  • Neil_Copeland

    Makes me proud to be a South Australian

    • Miles Harding

      It would make me proud too! Pity that I live in that Mississippi to the west!!
      here, in stupidity central, the worst government is considering how to replace Collie’s declining coal quality, not by moving to renewable sources, but by buying coal from Indonesia. I have no idea what the morons on capital hill think that will do to electricity costs or the state’s poor balance of payments situation.

      • john

        And mate it will be poor quality as well

  • michael

    it would be broadly consistent to not support uncompetitive technology with government guarantess after not supporting uncompetitive manufacturing in the car industry with further government support
    don’t we already have R&D rebates available for these companies to access until their offerings can compete on their merits with other energy sources? perhaps they aren’t eligible for the R&D rebates, will have to look into that

  • Beat Odermatt

    South Australia has not many other options beside renewable energy. During the 1980th ETSA, the former State electricity monopoly, started to look at different energy options for the future.
    South Australia either had to dig up massive areas of some of Australians most productive agricultural land (for example around Lochiel) to produce mine coal or import coal from interstate. It could buy expensive gas and convert all the power station to use gas or it could use renewable energy.
    An intensive wind monitoring programme was started which showed that SA had some of the best and most reliable wind resources in Australia. Renewable energy is the only affordable option for South Australia.

  • Rob G

    SA and ACT are leaving the other states behind and why is that? Because they have progressive politicians, unlike their neighbouring states. There’s a valuable lesson there for all voters. VIC will be next, resuming their renewables ambitions when the Libs are voted out.
    On going it alone and not waiting for the RET uncertainty to clear, I’d recommend that all the states move quickly and bring in their own carbon tax. This would go a long way towards funding renewable projects and reducing carbon emissions. They’d be well advised to get it in now before the federal government smartens up and wants it back. And that may be sooner than they think, as over 70 countries pledge to price carbon. Australia may find itself in a position where we will pay for emissions one way or other.

    • Jeremy Mauli

      Lucky for Australian Businesses there is a solution, Go Energy who is Australia’s Leading renewable energy provider is offering FREE of charge NO OBLIGATION agreements which protect your business from the federal govt. to abolish RETs , the agreement protects your intentions for future solar installations whether if its 5- 10 years from signing of the agreement, the abolishment of RETs could happen as early as tomorrow if you would like your business protected give me a call on 02 9492 2939 or send your business name ABN and your latest energy bill to jeremym@goenergy.com.au and I will see to it that your agreement to be protected is sent out, the sooner we have the completed documents back the quicker you can secure the protection your business needs. Thanks Guys……..

  • Jeremy Mauli

    Lucky for Australian Businesses there is a solution, Go Energy who is Australia’s Leading renewable energy provider is offering FREE of charge NO OBLIGATION agreements which protect your business from the federal govt. to abolish RETs , the agreement protects your intentions for future solar installations whether if its 5- 10 years from signing of the agreement, the abolishment of RETs could happen as early as tomorrow if you would like your business protected give me a call on 02 9492 2939 or send your business name ABN and your latest energy bill to jeremym@goenergy.com.au and I will see to it that your agreement to be protected is sent out, the sooner we have the completed documents back the quicker you can secure the protection your business needs. Thanks Guys..

  • Tash

    Yay! Finally Australia is waking up! Got ways to go though – NZ National Party promises 90% renewable by 2025

  • Haydn_Allbutt

    Well done South Australia, that is fantastic! We just have to get rid of the liberals, they are simply not designed to create advanced technologies since they are too concerned about budget deficits and big business. What they have done to the NBN is an example as well.