Bioenergy, Geothermal, Hydropower, Solar, Wind Power

Call for More Renewables is an Election Issue in Australia

Australia’s wind generator and renewable energy lobby groups are calling on the federal government to increase the target for renewable energy use to 10 percent by 2010.

MELBOURNE, Australia, AU, 2001-11-16 [] Australia currently requires suppliers to obtain an extra 2 percent of their electricity from renewables by 2010 (9,500 GWh) as the country attempts to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions. But wind generation company Pacific Hydro, the Australian EcoGeneration Association and the Australian Conservation Foundation all say the target for renewables should be raised substantially to 35,500 gigawatt hours. “This is consistent with other countries around the world, where many are looking to double or even quadruple their targets,” says Pacific Hydro’s COO Roy Adair. The groups plan to make the target an election issue by sending leaflets to vulnerable ridings before the November 10 election, explaining the importance of ratifying the Kyoto Protocol and raising the goal for renewables. The opposition Labour Party says it will ratify the agreement and review the target, while the Australian Democrats and Greens also favour increasing the target for renewables. Adair says Australia’s wind capacity could be increased “easily” from 100 MW to 15,000 MW, if the target were raised. Germany wants to generate 24,000 MW by 2010 and “they haven’t got anything like the wind regime or coastal areas that we have.” Earlier this year, Pacific Hydro opened the 18.3 MW Codrington windfarm and has plans for another 3,000 MW of wind capacity. But the Energy Users Association, which represents large power customers, says improved operation of the national energy market needs to be addressed before the renewables target is raised. “There are a whole series of question marks in the minds of customers that need to be resolved,” says the group. “It is premature and inappropriate to be talking about lifting the target.” Australia currently generates most of its electricity from coal.