Renewables Industry Risks Collapse Post-2020 Without 2030 Target



[news_posted_on] 21 September 2012  | 
A report released today from WWF and Climate Risk shows that investment in Australia’s world-class renewable energy resources could stall in 2020 unless the Renewable Energy Target is increased out to 2030.

Modelling results presented in the report, Our Clean Energy Future, shows that under the current carbon price and no increase of the RET after 2020, most renewable energy industries will collapse in 2020 and cease project development for between 4 and 32 years until cost convergence is achieved subject to carbon price.

“If our renewable industries are to survive Governments must ignore calls from the Australian Coal Association, Origin and Australian Industry Greenhouse network to scrap or reduce the RET, and instead give industry and investor certainty by increasing it out to 2030,” said WWF’s Climate Change National Manager, Kellie Caught.

The solution is a ‘safety’ RET out to 2030 of between 137,000 GWh and 169,000 which is equivalent to 43-53% target . The proposed 2030 target would put Australia on the pathway to 100% renewable energy by 2050.

“A 2030 ‘safety’ RET can prevent collapse of the renewable energy sector post 2020, drive costs down more quickly, and put Australia on a 100% renewable pathway,” said Ms Caught.

Dr Karl Mallon, co-author of the analysis said, “Even with the highest carbon price scenario modelled, renewable industries like geothermal power, ocean energy, and solar thermal will stall in 2020.”

“Clearly this would result in green collar job losses and an exodus of investment, but it also puts domestic emission cuts out of reach forcing Australia energy companies to go overseas for emission offsets for many years to come,” said Dr Mallon.

“The report also makes it clear we should be planning now to electrify the transport system and to grow renewable energy to meet the increased demand in the electricity sector”, said Ms Caught, “We can’t keep ignoring rising emissions from transport; electrification from renewable energy is the obvious solution.”

The report finds that removing the carbon price would mean having to find $65 billion over the next 40 years for renewable energy investment to deliver the same results.

“Transitioning to 100% renewables is desirable, technically achievable, affordable, and popular amongst Australians. What we need now is for governments to bring the renewable economy into reality,” Ms Caught said.

WWF-Australia contact:
Daniel Rockett, Communications Manager, WWF-Australia, 0432 206592
Kellie Caught, National Manager Climate Change, WWF-Australia, kcaught@wwf.org.au, 0406 383277

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