Australia had moved up to 5th place on Ernst & Young’s Renewable Energy Attractiveness index following the investment of over $7.5 billion in wind, solar and rooftop installations in 2016-17.

China and India take the top two placings, displacing the USA since their president, Donald Trump’s promise to revive the coal industry. Germany comes in at four, with Chile, Japan, France, Mexico and the UK making up the rest of the top 10.

Australia slipped out of the top ten in October 2016, because of doubts that its renewable energy target, which requires 33,000GWh of renewable energy by 2020, would be met.

Australia’s surge up the rankings is now due to a big commitment to large-scale solar following the success of the ARENA funding round which delivered 3,000MW of  projects, with more in the pipeline.

The 200MW Silverton wind farm has also begun construction near Broken Hill, while the 530MW Stockyard Hill wind project in Victoria has set a record low price for wind energy in the country of around 5.5c/kWh (A$55/MWh).

In June 2016, the State Government of Victoria committed to renewable energy generation targets of 25 per cent by 2020 and 40 per cent by 2025. These targets will be supported by a competitive reverse auction scheme.

The scheme is designed to:

  • Deliver up to 1500 megawatts (MW) of new large-scale renewable energy capacity by 2020 and up to 5400MW by 2025
  • Support capital expenditure of around A$9 billion in renewable energy projects, which would result in about A$2.5 billion of direct investment in Victoria
  • Create up to 11,000 two-year construction jobs over the life of the scheme, particularly in regional Victoria. In the peak year of project construction, the scheme is expected to deliver over 4,000 renewable energy jobs

The Clean Energy Regulator (CER), and the Federal Government, agree that the 2020 RET will likely be met with enough commitments made for 2017. The CER noted that 3300MW has previously been committed.

But after the 2020 national target is met, the industry becomes dependent on state-based schemes such as Victoria’s 40 per cent renewables commitment by 2025, Queensland (50 per cent by 2030), and Northern Territory (also 50 per cent by 2030).

NSW and Western Australia do not have set targets for renewables, but have made it clear they are keen for more large-scale solar and wind energy, combined with storage.

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