Dialling up clean energy investment

The Australian Energy Market Operator and Clean Energy Council say it’s time to remove the handbrake on renewables projects.

The Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) has called for the acceleration of clean energy investment due to growing concerns about reduced reliability and availability of coal-fired generation.

The Clean Energy Council says the AEMO’s “Energy Statement of Opportunities” report is a reminder of the importance of new investment to ensure energy security and affordability, and to meet Australia’s target of 82 per cent renewables by 2030.

The recent AEMO report follows the Clean Energy Council’s “Renewable Projects Quarterly Report” for Q2 that shows energy storage projects are on track, but renewable generation build has fallen behind.

Australia has enormous potential and a pipeline of projects, but a lack of strategic planning and reform during the prior decade means investors now face a range of barriers to new investment.

“The time for complacency is over,” Clean Energy Council chief executive Kane Thornton said.

“It’s time to remove the handbrake and get on with building what is required.

“The renewable energy industry has beaten targets many said could never be achieved. We stand ready to build what is needed.

“However, industry leaders have let us know they face serious challenges, and have been clear on the help they require to get on with 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” identifies 10 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 incentives – such as an extended Renewable Energy Target – to underpin new renewable energy investments.
  • Future market design uncertainty.
  • Concerns 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 are confident of delivering a reliable and low-cost energy system, achieving 82 per cent renewable energy by 2030, delivering our long-term emissions targets and setting up Australia to become a clean energy superpower,” Thornton said.

“There is an enormous pipeline of renewable energy projects in Australia, but investors are swamped with global opportunities at a time when barriers make Australian projects less attractive.”

Addressing these barriers requires genuine leadership and collaboration across governments, industry, market bodies and regulators.

This article featured in the December 2023 edition of ecogeneration. 

Send this to a friend