Monday, June 23, 2008

Labor to offer renewable energy plan

  • Chris Hammer
  • The Age, June 24, 2008

INSIGHT into the Federal Government's climate change strategy will be gained this week with the release of a blueprint for increasing the use of renewable energy.

The Rudd Government has committed Australia to generate 20% of its electricity from renewable sources such as wind and solar power by 2020, but has not revealed how this will be achieved.

The discussion paper is expected to outline a timetable detailing how the renewable energy target will be introduced, how it will work with the emissions trading scheme to be phased in from 2010, and how it may be phased out.

It is expected to cover issues such as interim targets, penalties for non-compliance, the mix of different renewable energy technologies, and how long credits for using renewable energy can be used.

Environmental groups are eager to see that the target is not met through one or two relatively low-cost sources such as existing hydro schemes plus wind power.

"The renewable energy target is an important foundation of the Government's response to climate change, but it needs to ensure that it drives Australian innovation across a broad range of technologies," said the Climate Institute's Erwin Jackson.

Promising technologies such as solar-thermal and geo-thermal are in early stages of development but may offer more reliable electricity generation than wind or traditional solar when fully developed.

State governments are establishing their own renewable energy schemes. Victoria has a scheme with a target of 10% renewable energy by 2016.

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