Giga-what? Explaining Australia's Renewable Energy Target

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3 KEY FINDINGS

1. Renewable energy is a crucial way to reduce carbon emissions from electricity supply and combat climate change.

  • Burning fossil fuels for electricity production is the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions driving climate change.
  • Australia’s renewable energy resources are capable of producing 500 times the amount of electricity we currently use.
  • A Productivity Commission review of more than 1,000 emissions reduction policies found that policies encouraging additional large-scale renewable electricity power plants were the second- most cost-effective set of policies after emissions trading schemes

2. While renewable energy is booming globally, policy uncertainty around the Renewable Energy Target means investment has fallen in Australia.

  • Investment in large-scale renewable energy projects fell 88 percent in Australia in 2014, while global investment in renewable energy grew.

3. The Renewable Energy Target has reduced greenhouse gas emissions in Australia.

  • To date, the Renewable Energy Target has reduced greenhouse gas emissions by 22.5 million tonnes carbon dioxide- equivalent to 10 per cent of Australia’s annual electricity emissions.
  • In future, if the current policy continues, the RET will reduce emissions by 58 million tonnes carbon dioxide (2015–2020) – equivalent to annual emissions from all of Australia’s passenger cars and light commercial vehicles.

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