Investment in Renewables Accelerates Carbon Abatement for Australia


A report released by the Clean Energy Regulator, a government body responsible for reducing carbon emissions for Australia, in a recent report observes that investment in renewable energy hit a record high in 2016. The Clean Energy Regulator 2016 annual report tracks Australia’s progress in accelerating carbon abatement for the nation and elaborates on the economic regulator’s role in boosting investment in renewable energy projects. Assessing the developments, the regulator observed that its 2020 target of generating 33,000 gigawatt hours of additional renewable energy is achievable by 2020.

The report noted that of the 98 new accredited power plants in 2016, as many as 86 constituted solar power plants. The investment in renewable energy generation in the same year increased noticeably by five times than in the previous year.

Small Scale Systems Installation to Attract Massive Support

A major part of renewable energy was generated from small-scale systems, including household solar panels and solar water heaters, signaling robust investment in renewables. With a towering number of 182,000 new installations in 2016, currently there 2.6mn small-scale renewable systems in about 15% of the Australian homes. As a result of the massive support by the Small-scale Renewable Energy scheme by the regulator, the combined energy generated from rooftop solar panels and hot water systems alone accounted to over 5,000 megawatts of power.

Renewable Energy Target: How It Works?

According to Josh Frydenberg, the Minister for the Environment and Energy, Australia is on its way to attain the Renewable Energy Target (RET)—amounting to at least 23.5% of the total electricity supply in the country—by 2020. He further added that substantial investments by the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) and the Australian Renewable Energy Agency also play a seminal role in achieving the RET. Since the CEFC was formed, it has made substantial commitments of $3.5B—through loan and equity—in clean energy projects.

According to the regulator, the Renewable Energy Target is tasked with encouraging additional generation of electricity using various eco-friendly and sustainable renewable sources, thereby cutting down greenhouse gases emissions in the country’s electricity sector. The participants mainly comprise voluntary participants who invest in large-scale installation of renewable power stations and those who support various small-scale installation. Few participants, notably electricity retailers, are obliged by law to purchase and surrender large-scale generation certificates annually and small-scale technology certificates quarterly.

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