The Northern Territory has appointed some of the country’s leading experts in renewable energy and associated technologies to the expert panel commissioned to deliver an expert report to the new Labor’s government’s 50 per cent renewable energy target.
The newly elected Labor government has promised to reach that target by 2030, and wants the panel to frame a strategic options paper next year. The target will require around 440MW of renewable energy capacity, not far short of the ACT’s needs for its 100 per cent target, but over a longer time frame.
The panel includes former Australian Renewable Energy Agency chair Greg Bourne, Climate Council CEO Amanda McKenzie, and Lyndon Frearson, the head of CAT Projects and a leading expert in solar and battery storage technologies.
The panel will be chaired by Alan Langworthy, a specialist in remote area power systems and renewable energy systems, and also includes Katherine Howard, a partner Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu, who has advised the ACT on its solar and wind auctions process, and advised on the creation of the Clean Energy Finance Corporation.
Chief minister Michael Gunner said the 50 per cent renewable energy target will “put us in line with the rest of the country”, a reference to the same target being pursued by Queensland, the 45 per cent by 2025 pursued by Victoria, ACT’s 100 per cent renewable target by 2020, and South Australia, which will likely reach 50 per cent this year.
This is despite efforts by the federal Coalition government and the fossil fuel industry to try and force the states to abandon their state-based targets in favour of a national scheme.
However, the states have made clear that they will not do that because the Coalition target is not ambitious, and does not look past 2020.
“It is important we do our part to act on climate change,” Gunner said. “Continued increases in temperature will have major impacts on not just our natural environment, but our economy, lifestyle and quality of life.
“Major economies around the world are increasing the use of renewable energy sources to avoid the economic, social and environmental implications association with the use of fossil fuels.
“Smart communities realise that investing in renewable energy is good for the environment and great for jobs. It’s also the long term key to cheaper and more secure energy supply for all Territorians.
The comments are in sharp contrast to the NT’s conservative government, which sought to demonise renewables and came up with some pretty ridiculous costings for solar technology in Alice Springs.
Gunner said the NT had produced world leading research and researchers in renewable energy through the Charles Darwin University and the Centre for Appropriate Technology.
“We need to continue this tradition but also do a better job at ensuring these breakthroughs create jobs right here in the Territory. It is imperative this research plays an integral role in the plan top reach the 50 per cent target by 2030,” he said.
The government has allocated $700,000 towards the development of a plan for its renewable target.