Tasmania, NSW and South Australia have taken the podium in the country’s race to become a renewable energy superpower, according to the second instalment of WWF-Australia’s Renewable Superpower Scorecard, released today.
The Scorecard provides an updated analysis of the inaugural report launched in March 2021, ranking the progress of federal, state and territory governments in switching Australia’s domestic energy systems to renewables and establishing renewable export opportunities.
“In the wake of the COP26, more and more countries are accelerating their shift to renewable energy and it’s encouraging to see our states rising to the challenge through increased ambitions and strong action,” said Nicky Ison, Energy Transition Manager at WWF-Australia.
Tasmania remains in the lead due to its strong track record and world-leading renewable energy targets of 200% by 2040. NSW was the most improved, gaining 16 points and moving from equal third with Victoria to second, while South Australia came in third with a four-point increase.
Queensland gained 10 points to come in fourth after its $2bn commitment in a Renewable Energy Hydrogen Jobs Fund, improving its local benefits policy, and supporting new renewable export industries. The Northern Territory also saw a significant improvement, adding seven points, while Victoria dropped to fifth and Western Australia from equal fifth down to sixth.
The renewables race is well and truly on between NSW and Victoria. While Victoria was a leader in renewables for many years, it has recently been overtaken by NSW after the latter announced substantial renewable hydrogen programs to decarbonise the heavy transport and industrial sectors. The lesson for all governments is that remaining a leader requires ongoing ambitious commitments with the necessary policy action to deliver.
The ACT has some of the country’s most ambitious and successful renewable energy policies, leading the way in accelerating the switch from oil and gas to renewables in transport and buildings with a 100% target that includes increasing the supply of renewable electricity. However, its unique situation as Australia’s smallest, and only landlocked, jurisdiction, means it can’t be subject to all the same measures in the Scorecard as other states.
While states moved up the leaderboard, the Federal Government fell further behind, coming in at the bottom of the rankings after missing the opportunity at COP26 in Glasgow to announce an expansion of its support for domestic renewables, electrification, and new renewable export industries.
“We need committed federal direction, policy and funding to enable all states and territories to realise their renewables ambitions. We don’t just want NSW or Queensland to become a renewable superpower. We want Australia as a nation to achieve this status and show global markets we will be a resilient and reliable export partner as the world transitions to a clean energy future,” said Ison.
“Australia’s governments should think bigger and more broadly by developing a Renewable Export Industry Strategy and bringing industries together through Renewable Energy Industrial Precincts.
“We have the opportunity to become a renewables leader right across the supply chain by using our expertise, skill and natural resources to manufacture things that Australia and the rest of the world needs.
“When it comes to renewables, Australia is once again the lucky country and with urgent government action, we have all of the right ingredients to become a renewable energy export powerhouse. If we fail to act, our economic future is at risk of decline, anchored to exports that are incompatible with a safe climate and increasingly unpopular with our trading partners,” said Ison.
The Renewable Superpower Scorecard has been released as part of a campaign to make Australia the world’s leading exporter of renewable energy by 2030. The campaign is part of WWF-Australia’s Regenerate Australia program to restore wildlife and habitats after the 2019-20 bushfires and future-proof Australia against further climate disasters.