Australian wind power targets must rise

Australia must raise its targets for increasing wind-powered energy production if it is to reduce the likelihood of global warming causing the country serious damage, according to its renewable energy sector.

The country’s Mandatory Renewable Energy Target (MRET) was previously set for an increase of just 2% by 2010. The Australian Labour Party (ALP) announced this week that its energy policy would push the MRET up to 5%, in order to ensure the ratification of the Kyoto Protocol.

But the Australian Wind Energy Association (AusWEA) claims that this is still too low. In order to meet the country’s energy needs, AusWEA claims the MRET should be increased to at least 10% by 2010, causing a minimal impact on the economy, providing jobs and boosting investment to rural and regional Australia.

Chief executive of AusWEA, Libby Anthony, said that this problem needed to be taken seriously in order to stop the Australian wind industry falling behind that of other countries.

“Considering Australia is the worst greenhouse polluter in the world per head of population, it is important that all sides of government take climate change seriously by committing to a clean energy future through the support of renewable energy such as wind,” Ms Anthony stated.

However, Ms Anthony commended the ALP for wanting to increase the MRET. She said that the wind industry deserved more recognition for the contribution it was making to Australia’s energy supply, with Aus$8 billion worth of new projects currently waiting to be implemented.

“This month, the installed capacity of wind energy around the world reached a point that exceeds the combined generation capacity of all of Australia’s power stations,” she said. “This period of rapid growth is the ideal time for our country to capitalise on this growing industry by raising our renewable energy target further and committing to even more clean energy.”

Last year the global wind industry employed 95,000 people and supplied more than 47 million people with clean power. AusWEA predicts that it will be worth over Aus$200 billion by 2012.

This decade, one third of new generating capacity in the European Union will be provided by wind power.

By Jane Kettle

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