Separating Australia’s renewable energy target from a new A$10 billion clean energy fund could lead to a 37% increase in anticipated large-scale renewables by 2020 with solar particularly benefiting, according to a report.
Commissioned by environmental body WWF-Australia and the Australian Solar Council, the report modelled the likely outcome of separating renewables projects funded by the Clean Energy Finance Corporation from those falling under Australia’s RET of 41,000GWh by 2020.
The CEFC is due to launch next year with the aim of financing the deployment of large-scale renewables in Australia. The CEFC is expected to make a contribution towards Australia’s 2020 RET.
But the report looked at various operational scenarios for the CEFC and the RET, including the likely outcome of separating the two, with projects financed under the CEFC being regarded as additional to those falling under the LRET.
It predicted that treating any projects financed by the CEFC as additional to the 2020 target and increasing the LRET to reflect the additional clean energy projects coming on stream could lead to a significant increase in the amount of renewables capacity built and the number of jobs created.
By 2020 the report said this scenario could lead to 13.7GW of large-scale renewables being built, compared to 10GW under the CEFC model as envisaged. By 2030 this would increase to 23.7GW compared to 20GW .
Solar would particularly benefit, with the envisaged scenario resulting in a total of 2.6GW of solar PV capacity in Australia by 2020 and as much as 5.9GW by 2030, the report said.
WWF’s Climate Change National Manager, Kellie Caught said: “By 2030, together the CEFC and an increased RET could create 28,000 new jobs, double current estimates, and significantly reduce emission, putting us firmly on a low carbon pathway.
“There is an opportunity for the $10 billion CEFC to have an even greater benefit beyond commercialising a broader range of renewables, at potentially no additional cost to the public.”
John Grimes, Chief Executive of the Australian Solar Council said: “The new modelling report confirms solar will be the big winner from the CEFC in the early years. The modelling made some conservative assumptions and we predict that if the CEFC was made additional to the RET, it would drive a solar boom and bring down costs faster.”