Suggestions that the current Australian Renewable Energy Target of 41,000 GWh by 2020 is infeasible have been laughed off by global wind development company Windlab, who have released figures showing that not only is the target feasible, but could be met by existing approved wind energy that has simply yet to be constructed.
Windlab’s technical services arm, the WindScape Institute, conducted a study of wind resources across Australia. Their conclusions stated that to meet the Renewable Energy Target (RET) of 41,000 GWh by 2020 required 8,000 MW of renewable energy.
8 GW of renewable energy is not chump change, but according to WindScape, there is already 8 GW worth of wind capacity “fully developed, approved and ready to construct.”
Furthermore there is an additional 10,000MW of wind energy currently under development making even a 30% wind energy scenario by 2025 for Australia readily achievable.
Dr. Nathan Steggel, WindScape Institute Director, concluded that “there are no technical, financial or economic barriers to rapid and large-scale deployment of wind energy into Australia’s electricity supply.”
“In many respects these conclusions are not surprising,” Dr Steggel commented. “They are simply an extension of what has already occurred in a diverse range of locations across the world. In the State of South Australia for example, wind energy today makes up around 30% of total electricity requirements.”
The report’s (PDF) authors noted in their conclusion that “given the abundant supply of quality wind energy locations which are already approved and ready for construction there is little if any evidence to suggest that the existing Renewable Energy Target of 41TWh by 2020 cannot be achieved.”
So one wonders just what it is the current Liberal Government are thinking when they not only dismiss the target as infeasible, but make moves to reduce the target. Even the much-maligned Warburton Review of the RET found that there was an existing pipeline to meet the Target.
“Given the cost benefit to consumers, ease with which the current targets can be attained and deep cuts to emissions that the RET is enabling, it seems almost inconceivable that we are even discussing a change to the RET legislation,” said Roger Price. “It seems like every day we hear about more investment funds who have determined either that carbon risk is too large, or that climate change is our biggest challenge. Rather than debating a cut in the RET, it seems that any rational evaluation of the facts actually supports increasing it.”
So maybe this whole Renewable Energy Target muddle all stems back to the fact that the Treasurer believes the wind turbines he drives past on the way to work are “utterly offensive“.