Renewable Energy Target
The Australian Government has developed a comprehensive plan to move to a clean energy future. Central to that plan is the introduction of a carbon price that will cut pollution in the cheapest and most effective way and drive investment in clean energy sources such as solar, gas and wind.
We have some of the world’s best wind resources and the highest average solar radiation per square metre of any continent in the world. To harness Australia’s abundant renewable energy resources, the Australian Government’s plan will drive innovation and investment worth billions of dollars in renewable energy through the carbon price, the Renewable Energy Target (RET), the Australian Renewable Energy Agency and the Clean Energy Finance Corporation.
The RET scheme is designed to deliver on the Australian Government’s commitment to ensure that the equivalent of at least 20 per cent of Australia’s electricity comes from renewable sources by 2020. As an important complement to a carbon price, the RET will speed up the adoption of renewable energy technologies and help smooth the transition to a clean energy future.
Enhancements to the Renewable Energy Target
The RET expands on the previous Mandatory Renewable Energy Target (MRET), which began in 2001. From 1 January 2011, the RET has operated as two parts:
1. Large-scale Renewable Energy Target (LRET), and
2. Small-scale Renewable Energy Scheme (SRES).
The LRET encourages the deployment of large-scale renewable energy projects such as wind farms, while the SRES supports the installation of small-scale systems, including solar panels and solar water heaters.
Combined, the LRET and SRES are expected to deliver more renewable energy than the previous 45,000 gigawatt-hour target in 2020. Renewable energy will continue to receive support under the RET until the scheme ends in 2030, ensuring long-term support for the industry.
Further information on the LRET and the SRES, including support for households installing renewable energy systems and the Solar Credits mechanism can be found in the Enhanced RET fact sheet.
Statutory Reviews of the RET scheme
The RET scheme legislation prescribes that a statutory review is to be undertaken by the Climate Change Authority (CCA) every two years from 2012. The CCA completed the 2012 RET review and released its final report on 19 December 2012. The Government’s response to the CCA’s recommendations was tabled in Parliament on 21 March 2013.
The Clean Energy Regulator
The Clean Energy Regulator oversees the implementation of the RET scheme. The Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency manages national policy and the legal framework.
The Clean Energy Regulator website has more information about the RET, including fact sheets, registration and accreditation forms.
Other support for renewables
The Australian Government is substantially enhancing its support for innovation and investment in renewable energy as a central element of its plan for a clean energy future. Initiatives, which complement a carbon price and the RET scheme, include:
- a new $10 billion Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) to invest in the commercialisation and deployment of renewable energy, energy efficiency and low pollution energy technologies
- the independent Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) to streamline and coordinate the administration of $3.2 billion in existing support for research and development, demonstration and commercialisation of renewable energy technologies
- an additional $200 million over five years to support innovation through grants for business investment in renewable energy, low emissions technology and energy efficiency under the Clean Technology Innovation Program.
Together, these initiatives are providing a robust support framework to build a critical mass of renewable energy, energy efficiency and low-pollution energy projects across Australia.