The South Australian Government says it will increase its Renewable Energy Target (RET) and aim for 50 per cent of the state’s power to be generated by renewables by 2025.
Premier Jay Weatherill said figures from last financial year showed 31.5 per cent of energy produced in the state came from renewable sources.
He said updated figures were expected to show SA had since exceeded its current target of 33 per cent by 2020.
“Modelling shows that the RET has underpinned $5.5 billion of expenditure to date,” he said.
“[It is] forecast to support a further $4.5 billion by 2025.
“This new target of half of the state’s power to be generated by renewable sources will create jobs and drive capital investment and advanced manufacturing industries.”
Mr Weatherill said SA had demonstrated that with appropriate policies and incentives, highly ambitious targets were achievable.
He said the Federal Government needed to heed that message.
“The sovereign risk created by the Federal Government’s unnecessary and unexplained review into the national RET has caused a number of projects to be placed on hold, putting many construction projects and ongoing jobs at risk,” he said.
“There are hundreds, if not thousands, of SA jobs in the renewable energy sector and these are the growth areas we should be supporting, not undermining.”
The Federal governments review panel hasbeen considering RET changes, but the Government has been promising not to break its election pledge to stand by the current 20 per cent target by 2020.
The review led by businessman Dick Warburton has recommended the federal RET be dramatically cut back.
Prime Minister Tony Abbott said last month the Government supported renewable energy but did not want measures that lifted power prices and passed on unnecessary costs to the Australian people.
Conservation Council CEO Craig Wilkins urged the SA Government to keep fighting the federal move to downgrade the RET.
“We have reaped the benefits of the Commonwealth Renewable Energy Target over the last decade with enormous investment in wind and solar infrastructure, particularly in regional SA,” he said
“This new state target of 50 per cent renewable energy generation by 2025 will be extremely difficult to achieve if the federal RET is dismantled.”
Andrew Bray from the Australian Wind Alliance said South Australia had proved itself a wind power success story.
“While more wind and solar power in SA is being fed into the grid, the wholesale cost of power has stayed the same,” he said.
“South Australians are paying the same for wholesale power as they were eight years ago, even accounting for the cost of renewable energy certificates.
“This decision to increase the target shows that with the rise of renewable energy is inevitable and beneficial to Australians’ costs and standard of living.”
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