Sydney, Australia — Australia’s government has passed amendments to the Renewable Energy Target that are expected to create greater investment certainty for large-scale renewable projects such as wind farms, and will ensure support to households for small-scale renewables remains well targeted.
The Government amendments to the enhanced Renewable Energy Target included:
Excess banked RECs: In the event of very high numbers of Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) being created from small-scale renewable sources in the next six months, the Bill includes a provision to temporarily increase the target in 2012 and 2013 to provide greater investment certainty. The 20% by 2020 target will remain, as any temporary increase will be offset by reducing targets by the same total amount of RECs between 2016 and 2019.
Household RECs review: The process for review will be strengthened in the Bill, with the Minister to be given independent advice on matters relating to RECs under the Small-scale Renewable Energy Scheme (SRES), including whether the $40 REC price remains appropriate over time.
Solar Credits: To provide flexibility to deal with changes in the cost of solar panels, the Renewable Energy Regulator will be given power to adjust the Solar Credits multiplier. The Government will consult on draft regulations to implement this arrangement later this year.
The legislation will split the Renewable Energy Target, which guarantees 20 per cent of Australia’s energy in 2020 will come from renewable sources, into two parts from January 1 2011 – the Small-scale Renewable Energy Scheme (SRES) and the Large-scale Renewable Energy Target (LRET).
The LRET, covering large-scale renewable energy projects like wind farms, commercial solar and geothermal, will deliver the majority of the 2020 target. The SRES will provide a set level of support to the roll out of small-scale technologies such as solar panels and solar hot water systems.
Australian Clean Energy Council CEO Matthew Warren said the welcome reforms would unlock more than AU $20 billion in investment in major generation projects while creating a stable growth path for household scale technologies like solar hot water and solar PV panels.
“It is rewarding to see all sides of politics come together to deliver and enhance these important reforms that will underpin the creation of a world-class Australian clean energy industry this century,” he said. “This completes a first important step forward in decarbonising energy in Australia. It’s now important for the industry get on with the job.”