Australia opts for individual liability scheme to achieve renewables target

Australia's Renewables Target Working Group is recommending an individual liability scheme achieve the country's target of increasing renewable electricity sources by 2% by 2010.


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Following publication of its interim report last August, the group had been considering two options:

  • An individual liability scheme, where liable parties are independently responsible for meeting their targets, through obtaining renewable energy certificates credited to producers of new renewable energy; and
  • A central renewable energy tasked with meeting the national target through contractual obligations with generators.

In a new report, the Working Group makes detailed recommendation on the implementation of the proposed scheme. This report can be viewed in Adobe Acrobat (.pdf) format by following the link below.

Under the target, electricity retailers and other large electricity buyers will be legally required to source an additional 2% of electricity from renewable or specified waste-product energy sources by 2010 (including by direct investment in alternative renewable sources such as solar water heaters). This should bring the total share of renewables in Australia to 12.5% or 12.7% depending on the definition used.

Support for renewables is provided by a number of programmes on the supply side, in addition to the renewable energy target.

The specific objectives of the renewable energy target are:

  • To accelerate the uptake of renewable energy in grid-based applications, so as to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases
  • As part of the broader strategic package to stimulate renewables, provide a base for the development of commercially competitive renewable energy; and
  • To contribute to the development of internationally competitive industries that could participate effectively in the burgeoning Asian energy market.

It is estimated that the measure will lead to an average price increase for electricity of 1.3 – 2.5%. The extra capital investment required to meet the target has been estimated at AUS$1.8 – 3 billion over the period to 2010.

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