Congratulations to South Australian Premier Jay Wetherall who announced this past week that the state was about to reach it's 2020 target of 33 per cent renewables in the electricity sector and had chosen to increase this target to 50 per cent by 2020.
“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." he said in a statement. (statement PDF)
The Federal Renewable Energy Target (RET) has been a significant factor in attracting $5.5 billion in investment and was likely to support a further $4.4 billion by 2025, creating much needed jobs in solar installation and advanced manufacturing.
“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." Wetherall said, “But we will only be successful with both of these targets if the Federal Government maintains the current Renewable Energy Target Scheme arrangements."
The Abbott Government Warburton review of the RET has recommended either closing the scheme to new investors or by setting targets based on the growth of electricity demand. Both of these options would throw a spanner in the works of investment in renewable energy in Australia.
"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." said Wetherall.
In the next 5 or 6 years, California will likely move to over 33% renewables. South Australia has already got to 35%! pic.twitter.com/an6KqfkzEH— Climate Council (@climatecouncil) September 24, 2014
The state's 33 per cent target was set in 2009 with recent data showing that 31.5 per cent of energy produced in South Australia was from renewable sources. Figures from the Australian Energy Market Operator expected this month are likely to show SA has exceeded the target of 33 per cent.
Tristan Edis writing in the Climate Spectator reckons this is just good public relations marketing based on forecast growth of new wind farms due to the RET and installation of solar PV. Eddis believes that the new target might be achieved in about 2 years. While this might be accurate, it underscores that South Australia have set in place a degree of business certainty and rational wind farm planning regulations, unlike Victoria.
In June 2014 Giles Parkinson in RenewEconomy predicted that South Australia could be 1st mainland state to 100% renewables. It is certainly a possibility as long as conditions continue to be supportive for investment in renewables in the transition away from fossil fuels.
Here is how 7news reported the story: