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Australia has world class renewable energy resources across a range of technologies, from solar and wind through to hot rocks and oceans. We have what it takes to lead the world into a 100% renewable energy future.
Australia has one of the world’s best and biggest solar energy resources, yet today less than 1% of our electricity is generated from this clean energy source. And despite a decade of government renewable energy targets we currently generate only about 7% of our electricity from renewable energy sources.
We’re working to help build the right policies to unlock a boom in clean energy investment, and to make the opportunities of the clean energy revolution in Australia clear.
Clean energy development in Australia recently received a massive boost that could lead to exciting outcomes.
The Clean Energy Future Package to put a price on pollution included an unprecedented investment of $13.2 billion for national clean energy development. From this, the government could unlock a clean energy boom of up to $100 billion in private investment that would put Australia on track to be a leader in the clean energy race.
We want a nation-wide clean energy revolution that will rapidly shift us away from polluting fossil fuels like coal and gas and put Australia in a leading position on clean renewable energy’ — Tony Mohr, ACF climate change campaign manager
ACF is focussing on making sure that these funds are released and investments are made as soon as possible. We need to make sure investment supports the new clean technologies that can’t yet compete in the energy market, and leverage the maximum amount of money from the private sector to do it. It’s critical that these funds successfully unleash a boom in large-scale renewable energy projects that will end our dependence on coal and gas.
The transition to a clean energy economy is ramping up in Australia. In 2001 the Howard government introduced the Mandatory Renewable Energy Target to increase the amount of renewables in Australia by 2 per cent.
From this slow beginning we have now moved to a 20 per cent Renewable Energy Target by 2020 in Australia, legislated in 2010 with investment in large-scale renewable energy projects and rooftop solar taking off around the nation.
In this critical decade, we believe that Australia should pick up the pace and aim for 40 per cent of our energy coming from renewable energy sources as soon as 2020.
The $3.2 billion Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) will primarily support research and development in new clean energy technologies.
In December 2010 we released a report, Funding the transition to a clean energy economy, which assessed the tools used to support clean energy investment in other countries, and first put forward the blueprint for a $2 billion a year Clean Energy Finance Corporation.
We were delighted when our hard work on this proposal paid off, with the $10 billion CEFC being accepted as part of the Clean Energy Future Package in July 2011, passing through parliament as law in June 2012.
The CEFC is a vital element of Australia’s efforts to reduce climate change and establish us as a world power in clean energy development. The expert review panel, headed up by RBA member Jillian Broadbent, made recommendations that ensure that it is independent from government and politics, and has the right financial tools to support the many great Australian clean energy technologies and resources to compete in Australia’s energy market.
Now that the CEFC is law, it is vital that its remit extends above and beyond the 20 per cent Renewable Energy Target (RET). On its own, the CEFC will unlock a huge boom in renewable energy investment, setting Australia up for the coming new industrial revolution. Presently, however, it is limited to projects that contribute to the RET, which hamstrings its potential to truly change our economy for the cleaner and better.
We will push for the CEFC to be unleashed from this tether, and allowed to truly support the flood of renewable investment that is just waiting for the proper support. If parliament fails to deliver this, we will continue the fight when the RET is reviewed later in the year.
The shift to a cleaner economy will mean a surge in 'green collar' jobs for Australians. We'll see more and more jobs that contribute to better environmental outcomes or increased sustainability.
In modelling undertaken in partnership with the ACTU, we highlighted the jobs growth that would occur from a price on pollution together with strong support for clean energy development. We used a scenario that very closely resembles Australia’s price on pollution and the CEFC, which found that around 3.5 million new jobs would be created in Australia by 2030, which is 770,000 more than under a price on pollution alone.
Late in 2010 we released our clean energy map which highlights Australia’s huge renewable energy potential and the hundreds of thousands of jobs that would be created across each state. This map shows how much more we could be doing.
With this sort of momentum behind us, we’re optimistic about meeting the challenges ahead.