Report calls for “ambitious, achievable” VRET of 30% by 2020

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Friends of the Earth report says Victoria could achieve a renewable energy target of 30 per cent by 2020 just by maintaining current solar installations and wind energy pipelines.

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Victoria could achieve a renewable energy target of 30 per cent by 2020, simply by maintaining medium growth of rooftop solar power and building the pipeline of wind farms already approved – or expected to be approved – for the state, a new report has claimed.

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The report, published on Friday by Friends of the Earth, is part of a final push for the “best possible” Victorian target as the Andrews government prepares to release its Renewable Energy Action plan in coming weeks.

It finds that a “respectable” VRET of 30 per cent would put Victoria in line with some of the world’s leading industrial economies, including Germany and California, as well as with comparable states, like Colorado in the US.

It notes that a 30 per cent VRET that was complementary to the national scheme would not be enough to “fill the breach” created by the federal government cuts, but would help maximise Victoria’s share of clean energy investment and jobs.

A VRET that was entirely additional to the national scheme, however, would boost national renewables generation to more than 45,000GWh by 2020 and deliver the greatest benefit to industry and environment, it said.

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But the report also noted that an upside of having a “complementary” VRET scenario was that it could help “stave off so-called penalty prices that would be triggered if retailers didn’t meet the national target.”

“The Andrews government can put the sector back on track by setting a respectable Victorian Renewable Energy Target,” said the report’s author, Leigh Ewbank.

“Victoria won’t have to rely on the policies of other states to build renewable energy projects for much longer. By setting a respectable target of 30 percent by 2020, Premier Andrews can secure local jobs and investment.

“Premier Andrews has a record of leading when the federal government fails the community. The Premier has taken leadership positions on asylum seekers and the Safe Schools program. Renewable energy is another area where the Andrews government can lead.”

More and more Australian state governments are setting – or committing to set – their own renewable energy targets, after years of uncertainty at a federal level effectively drew investment in the sector to a halt.

South Australia and the ACT lead this effort, the latter with a target of 90 per cent by 2020, while Queensland is aiming for 50 per cent renewables by 2030.

South Australia, which will meet – and pass – its 50 per cent renewables target this year, nearly a decade ahead of schedule, is now aiming to get as close to 100 per cent renewable energy as possible.

Sophie Vorrath

Sophie is editor of OneStepOffTheGrid.com.au and deputy editor of its sister site, RenewEconomy.com.au. Sophie has been writing about clean energy for more than a decade.

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8 Comments
  1. David Spratt 3 years ago

    When the world has “committed” warming of 1.7C already, and by the end of the Paris period just 10 years after 2020, that “committed” warming will be locked in at 2C or more (with as yet unproven geoengineering), I can’t see how 30% by 2030 can be seen as “ambitious”. Prof. Kevin Anderson and others have pointed out the rich high-polluting nations like Australia would need to reduce emissions around 10% a year for even a low probability of not exceeding 2C. And 2C is a long way from “safe”, in fact its very dangerous. We face a climate emergency, as our scientists are telling us and the Great Barrier Reef is showing us. If the Victorian Labor Government can’t be told that, their policies can only be based in ignorance and failure, given the climate crisis we now face. http://media.wix.com/ugd/148cb0_4868352168ba49d89358a8a01bc5f80f.pdf

    • Mick 3 years ago

      David – It appears the FoE report is calling for a 30% target by *2020* not 2030. Given Vic generation is only ~9-10% renewable at the moment, I would say tripling that in the next 3~4 years is pretty ambitious in anyone’s books (even if it is insufficient).

      • David Spratt 3 years ago

        Interesting that we now use the words”ambitious” and “insufficient” together when talking about climate action plans. I wonder what that means?

        • Alastair Leith 3 years ago

          for a start it means you misread (or haven’t read) the Y2R Report, David 😉 I agree that 2025 target could be improved as we move beyond 2020 but the 2020 target of 30% from 12% (which took a couple of decades) is not weak. If only our nation’s other Climate campaigns were getting runs on the board like Y2R are. 🙂

          For the record the high ambition targets I advocated for (expecting they’d have been already announced last year providing more lead time for the 2020 target) were:
          2020: 40%
          2025: 100%
          with high levels of rooftop and large scale PV in the back end as the price would be significantly cheaper with 5x 20% module cost reductions which means after tens years PV modules have fallen another 77%. Said another way, 33% of today’s price!

          On CST, it’s anybodies guess, but CST with thermal storage may be significantly more affordable by 2025 also since it too is on a learnings curve but nothing like that of a consumer volume, ubiqitous semiconductor based technology (i.e. PV).

        • Ben Courtice 3 years ago

          It means current political systems are insufficient for the challenge posed by dangerous global warming.

          • Alastair Leith 3 years ago

            hear, hear.

      • Alastair Leith 3 years ago

        yes, with an industry that’s on life support we can’t expect it to power to 50% by 2020 off a pretty static base of what I believe is around 12% including rooftop PV. But the ambition for 2025 and 2030 needs to be much higher than growth at that rate. globally solarPV continues to grow at a rate of a doubling of deployment every two years, with 20% attendant module price fall each doubling.

        as I show in this piece which I wrote for FoE’s magazine Chain Reaction, nationally PV deployment has flattened to linear growth in the last four years, we’re falling behind the curve in every state from strong beginnings. if policies were returned to that encouraged exponential growth in PV and then storage as it becomes a better value proposition then we could have daytime 100% RE most of the year round by 2025 or sooner. Onshore wind remains the most affordable RE generation technology and will do for some time yet, and it generates at night so a mix of utility scale is still the smart way to go.

        Definitely once the industry recovers from life support to high levels of investment and development we should be looking at ramping up as hard as industry thinks it can handle investment without it leading to dodgy developments being approved.

    • Tony Goodfellow 3 years ago

      The conclusion reads “Modelling by the Australian Energy Market Operator confirms it’s feasible for Australia to hit 100% renewable energy by 2030.”

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