The Victorian Government has announced that it will legislate for a series of five-yearly interim targets, leading to an overall goal of achieving net zero carbon emissions emissions by 2050.
As well as the five-year targets, the Government will introduce an emissions reduction “pledge programme” for business and community sectors. Every government department will be required to pledge to reduce their own operational emissions, while government policies and programs will also have to consider climate change.
Details of the measures to be taken under the first of the five-year interim targets will be announced before the end of the year.
Victoria has also set a goal of 40% of electricity generated in the State being from renewable sources by 2025. Currently, only about 14% of Victoria’s electricity comes from renewable sources.
Achieving that goal is expected to require up to 5,400 megawatts of new renewable energy capacity which would be worth about $2.5 billion in investment in the State and create about 4,000 new jobs during peak construction.
Meanwhile, the Queensland Government has doubled its short-term large-scale solar target, promising to provide long term financial support for up to 120 megawatts of large scale solar farms.
The new target is double its recently announced “Solar60” commitment to support 60 megawatts of large scale solar. Solar60 was itself a 50% increase over an election commitment to 40 megawatts.
Australia’s smaller islands are also looking to source most of their electricity from renewable sources.
Kangaroo Island is calling for proposals that would use a mixture of local renewable resources, together with battery storage, smart software and biodiesel for back-up, to allow the island to become almost entirely reliant on its own resources for both electricity and transport.
The Island, which has a population of 4,600 and about 200,000 visitors a year, currently gets its electricity from the South Australian grid through lines installed in the 1960s. These no longer have the capacity to meet increasing demand and would have to be upgraded at an estimated cost of $45 to $50 million. South Australian Power Networks has called for alternative proposals to upgrading the power lines for a similar cost.
Kangaroo Island also imports about 6 million litres of diesel a year. It has been proposed that this could be replaced with biodiesel using local blue gum plantations for the feedstock.
King Island and Lord Howe Island are also installing significant renewable energy and battery storage arrays but will still rely on fossil fuels for 20% to 30% of their electricity needs.
Lord Howe Island has recently called for tenders for the installation of solar, wind and battery storage to meet a goal, set in 2012, of reducing its reliance on diesel generation by two thirds. The tender calls for 450 kilowatts of solar PV, 400 kilowatts of wind energy and a 400 kilowatt-hour battery storage system.
The Lord Howe Island Board expects the new system will cut back diesel use by 66%, from 518,000 litres per year to around 180,000 litres per year with renewable energy providing 67% of the Island’s electricity needs.