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Renewable energy set for a comeback

Investment in Australian renewable energy projects is set for a comeback, following the resolution on the renewable energy target (RET) impasse last year.

The SMH reports that, according to professional services firm EY, the sector could see a welcome injection of as much as $10 billion of investment into wind and solar energy projects.

In June last year legislation to cut the RET from 41,000 gigawatt hours to 33,000 gigawatt finally passed Federal Parliament, following a contracted stand-off between the major parties.

The original RET, created by the Howard Government in 2001, was 41,000 gigawatt hours. That figure was originally intended to represent 20 per cent of the nation’s energy usage.

However, given that energy usage is expected to fall by 2020, the government argued figure was greater than 20 per cent and decided to change it. This led to the stand-off.

According to EY, if Australia is to meet this target, we will require between $8 billion and $12 billion in wind farms to create 5000 megawatts of energy. The figure is likely to be slightly less than that given that new large-scale solar projects also need to be factored in.

However, the nation is still a long way of meeting the RET. According to Bloomberg New Energy Finance, last year $1.18 billion was invested in large-scale renewables. However, if the RET is to be met $3.6 billion a year will have to be invested.

Renew Economy reports that, according to AGL Energy, the renewable energy sector will require old high emitting coal-fired power generators to shut.

AGL chief executive Andrew Vesey said the sector also requires a “sustainable” energy market.

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