Wednesday 25 November 2015

The South Australian Government announcement today that the state will produce zero net emissions by 2050 is a commitment that will drive positive change and unlock many economic opportunities over the next 35 years, the Clean Energy Council said.  

Clean Energy Council Chief Executive Kane Thornton said the South Australian Government continued to show strong leadership that is delivering renewable energy investment and cutting emissions, and its plan to be a net exporter of renewable energy is extremely welcome.

“A long-term transition plan for a cleaner energy sector with strong market signals will attract major private sector investment to the state. It is certainly achievable, and the South Australian example to date shows that much higher levels of renewable energy are possible throughout the rest of the country,” Mr Thornton said.

“This goal will need to be accompanied by smart energy market reform that ensures the state can run on progressively higher levels of renewable energy and continue to operate a stable energy system.

“Currently about 40 per cent of the power across the state comes from renewable energy, and the Australian Energy Market Operator says the system will remain secure and meet its reliability standards in the coming years – meaning at least 99.98 per cent of power demand will be served.

“Policymakers, regulators and market operators need to take a more strategic approach to prepare for the necessary changes in our electricity system, and the renewable energy industry looks forward to working constructively and collaboratively with these groups.”

Mr Thornton said the government’s 2050 zero net emissions target aligned well with the timelines that some companies have set for the retirement of their existing fleet of coal-fired power generators.

 “More than 70 per cent of Australia’s coal-fired power plants are at or beyond their expected retirement date, and even the owners of these plants recognise that they will need to be replaced with modern, clean ways of generating power,” he said.

“Change is already happening much faster than many businesses have anticipated, and the South Australian Government should be congratulated for its hard work to maximise the benefits from the inevitable changes in the way we generate and consume electricity.

“Renewable energy has already delivered about $6 billion of investment to the state, with the promise of much more to come.”