Australia, 19 December 2012: GE has welcomed the Climate Change Authority's final report on its review of Australia's 2020 Renewable Energy Target (RET) to drive policy continuity and investment certainty.
Melbourne-based GE Renewables Asia-Pacific Leader, Peter Cowling, said the RET has had 12 years of bipartisan support since its introduction in 2001, including its increase to 45,000GWh in 2009 and separation into large-scale and small-scale renewable technology targets in 2011.
GE has installed more than 20,000 wind turbines around the world and it is currently commissioning its first Australian wind farm project, 55MW Mumbida near Geraldton, Western Australia.
"The Climate Change Authority has undertaken a comprehensive review and its conclusive recommendations to government for policy stability should be heeded by all policymakers," Mr Cowling said.
Specifically, the Authority has recommended for the retention of the bi-partisan legislated 41,000GWh 2020 Large-scale Renewable Energy Target and that future reviews be conducted every four years rather than biennially.
Importantly, the recommendations of the Authority are consistent with the objects of the Renewable Energy (Electricity) Act 2000 introduced by the former Howard Government.
Mr Cowling said GE urged all sides of politics to respond positively to the Authority's recommendations as soon as possible. This will provide project proponents with regulatory certainty to proceed with the development of their projects, secure power purchase agreements, engage equipment suppliers and contractors, and benefit host landholders and regional economies.
"The RET complements the bipartisan efforts to cut Australia's greenhouse gas emissions by 5% over 2000 levels by 2020, establish the Australian Renewable Energy Agency and legislate for the Carbon Farming Initiative," Mr Cowling said.
"It also matches the ambitions of States like New South Wales, whose Draft Renewable Energy Action Plan estimates renewable projects with consent or in the planning assessment phase have the potential to add between 875MW to 1,085MW of additional capacity, generating $1.9 billion to $2.3 billion in capital investment with associated employment and regional development benefits."
The Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) reported in its 2012 Electricity Statements of Opportunities there was more than 15.4GW of proposed renewable energy projects, with 13.4GW of those proposed for wind.
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