According to the Green Energy Market’s quarterly Renewable Energy Index, the amount of renewable energy is set to exceed the original target of 41,000 Gigawatt hours (GWh) Renewable Energy Target (RET) which was in place before being dumped for a lesser target.
The original RET was set in place to assist in Australia’s commitment to cut emissions by 26 to 28% by 2030 from 2005 levels and to show the rest of the world we are determined to reduce our impact on climate change.
This target was deemed impossible by the Abbott Government in 2015, who then went ahead and reduced the target to just 33,000 GWh, explaining the generating capacity at the time was already too high.
But, the study found an estimated generation of 41,381 GWh would be achieved by as soon as 2020, which not only exceeded the original RET of 41,000 GWh, but has been achieved a decade earlier than expected.
Green Energy Market Director, Tristan Edis, said the (Abbott) government had originally stated that Australia could not surpass the proposed target any further without creating a dangerous economic shock.
Mr Edis also revealed the ex-government’s warning that relying on renewable energy systems could be risky is obviously untrue, as we’re already around the limits of their set RET.
Energy and Environment minister, Josh Frydenberg, even detailed that due to the huge flood of renewable energy entering the market, the cost of electricity should be substantially reduced.
We’ve already met the Government’s NEG, so what do we do now?
The National Energy Guarantee set for Australia explains that in order to reach our emissions reduction target, 9,271 megawatts (MW) of wind and solar are required to be installed from 2017 onwards.
The conundrum though is the fact that 9,691 MW of projects are either currently underway or have made commitments to be constructed within the 2030 emissions reduction time frame.
The developments include a 650MW project to power the Whyalla Steelworks in South Australia, a 500MW wind expansion scheme from AGL and renewable energy auctions directed by Queensland and Victorian Governments.
So now the question must be asked, since we have already met our agreed upon NEG, is there reason to continue pushing for further renewable energy projects and exceed our measure?
Australia’s carbon emission reduction target is under threat
Australia has never been shy to set difficult tasks and outperform ourselves as a nation, but recent developments have revealed that our carbon dioxide reduction commitment is expected to fall just under 120 million tonnes short of what we had set.
According to the Department of Environment, the Government needs to find a way to abate 128 million tonnes of CO2 by 2030, but the latest model detailing this commitment has suggested we will only deliver around 10 million tonnes to the NEG.
There have been proposals to enforce strict vehicle emission standards, but that would still have very little impact on the reduction levels.
Although the NEG has met and exceeded its renewable energy commitments, we are still in dire need to do our part to cut CO2 emission levels.
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Solar panel installations hits record heights
According to a report from the Renewable Energy Index last month, renewables control 19.7% of the generated electricity nation-wide, which reflects to powering over 8.7 million homes.
March made history with the highest monthly rooftop solar installations ever with 127 megawatts, which equates to powering over 36,700 homes, along with the first 3 months of 2018 running at levels 50% above what was anticipated in the NEG.
Whether the huge spike in solar installations stem from the desire to reduce our environmental impact, reduce our energy bills or both, renewables have the ability to substantially impact the NEG to not only continue to surpass the RET but help meet our carbon emission commitment as well.
If you are interested to discover how solar energy can benefit your home or business, call our friendly team at AICA on 1800 242 228.