Australia has a lot more than just giant. fluro-pink slugs going for it (see previous post), but those are pretty cool. The country is now on track to beating its bipartisan 2020 renewable energy target by a at least 2.5 percentage points, according to a new study by consultancy Green Energy Markets.
The coal-heavy (and fortunately solar energy-heavy) nation has a stated target of 20% renewable energy by 2020. The analysis of government data by Green Energy Markets has concluded that there will be a long-term decline in fossil fuel use, and a decline of one third in the use of coal to generate electricity. It is forecast that renewables will grow from 13% to 51% by 2050.
With increased efficiencies in the system, it’s expected that the rate of the growth of electricity generation will slow to 1.47% per year until 2020. Electricity consumption dropped by 5.5% between 2008 and 2012, which half of this figure coming from solar and energy efficiency programs. Energy price increases and lower manufacturing activity has also had an impact.
However, the success of beating the renewable energy target may still depend on the outcome of elections and resulting policies. The deputy chief executive of the the Climate Institute, Erwin Jackson, has said that the renewable energy forecasts are academic until it’s known what the “policy settings” are over the coming years. Renewable energy investors are less likely to invest large amounts if policies are not consistant, with changes in policy from election to election.
As we’ve reported recently, the Australian solar market has become one of the most promising in the world in recent times, so let’s hope that continues to 2020 and beyond, and Australia smashes through the 20% target early and keeps right on going. It will only encourage other developed nations to do the same, or better.