The Clean Energy Council has called for an acceleration of renewable energy projects, following AEMO’s report shining light on the falling reliability of coal generation. 

Clean Energy Council Chief Executive, Kane Thornton, said the AEMO’s Energy Statement of Opportunities report was another reminder of the importance of new investment to ensure energy security and affordability and in order to meet Australia’s ambitious target of 82 per cent renewables by 2030.

The Council said while there is enormous potential and pipeline of projects, the lack of strategic planning and reform over the prior decade means investors now face a range of barriers to new investment.

The AEMO report follows the Clean Energy Council’s Renewable Projects Quarterly Report for Q2 2023 that showed while storage projects were on track, the renewable generation build had fallen behind.

“The time for complacency is over, it’s time to remove the hand brakes and get on with building what is required,” Mr Thornton said.

“The renewable energy industry has, over many years, beaten targets many said could never be achieved.

“We stand ready to build what is needed. But industry leaders have let us know they face serious challenges and have been clear on the help they require to get on and do the job.”

“More than anything, those willing to make the necessary investments require and deserve certainty.”

Research for the Clean Energy Council’s Energy Outlook Confidence Index identified ten challenges: 

  • Concerns and challenges related to grid connection process and technical requirements
  • Concern about the role of state governments owning generation and crowding out or undermining private investment
  • Under-investment in network capacity to address congestion and constraints
  • Lack of clear national market incentive – such as an extended RET – to underpin new renewable energy investments
  • Future market design uncertainty
  • Concerns and uncertainty around marginal loss factors
  • Lower energy demand impacting wholesale energy market
  • Lack of certainty about timing of exit of coal-fired power generation.
  • Challenges in obtaining planning approval for projects
  • Attracting and retaining a skilled trades workforce

“If we overcome these challenges, we remain confident we can deliver a reliable and low-cost energy system, achieving 82 per cent renewable energy by 2030, delivering our long-term emissions targets and setting Australia up to become a clean energy superpower.” 

Mr Thornton said that there is an enormous pipeline of renewable energy projects in Australia, but investors are swamped with global opportunity at a time where barriers make Australian projects less attractive.

“Addressing these barriers requires genuine leadership and collaboration across governments, industry, market bodies and regulators to address many of these challenges. The commitment and progress to this challenge is now strong and near universal.”

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