Australia hits 2020 clean energy target ahead of schedule

Australia has achieved its 2020 target for generating electricity from large-scale renewable sources a year ahead of plan, according to the country’s Clean Energy Regulator.

The 33,000GWh target, launched in 2001 and reduced in 2015, was achieved on August 30 after the approval of the 148.5MW Cattle Hill Wind Farm in Tasmania, owned by Goldwind and partners.

As recently as 2016, the Clean Energy Regulator estimated that 6,400MW of large-scale capacity would need to be built between 2017 and 2019 to hit the target.

The regulator said that a further 4,851MW of renewable capacity has been committed and another 1,556MW is likely to go ahead.

“While future investment faces a number of constraints, this is by no means the end of renewable energy investment in Australia, with markets continuing to innovate and adapt to opportunities and challenges,” said Clean Energy Regulator chair David Parker.

Renewable energy developers have faced issues with Australia’s strained electricity grid and additional scrutiny from network operators to ensure new projects don’t add to existing problems.

The main challenge now is for the government to set out a clear policy for the energy sector to enable new investments, said Clean Energy Council chief executive Kane Thornton.