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.
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.
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 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.