CANBERRA, Jan. 23 (Xinhua) -- Australia's Minister for Energy and the Environment has confirmed that the country will meet its 2020 Renewable Energy Target (RET).
In order to achieve the RET of 33,500 gigawatt hours (around 23.5 percent Australia's electricity generation) the Clean Energy Regulator said that a further 6,000 megawatts of renewable capacity would need to be announced and built between 2016 and 2019.
Josh Frydenberg confirmed on Tuesday that the milestone has been surpassed ahead of schedule following a record investment in renewable energy in 2017.
"Already, 4,924 megawatts of the 6,532 megawatts of capacity that has been firmly announced is under construction or already operating, with the balance expected to be fully financed and under construction early this year," Frydenberg said in a statement.
"More than 1,600 megawatts of projects have a power purchase agreement in place which we expect will progress to financial close.
"The construction of this level of firmly announced renewable projects will lead to an investment of more than 12 billion Australian dollars (9.58 billion U.S. dollars) which will support growth in the Australian economy."
Responding to Frydenberg's announcement, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Climate Council, Amanda McKenzie, called for a more ambitious RET to be put in place to drive investment and keep the momentum going.
"Achieving our 2020 target ahead of schedule shows the value of setting and implementing renewable energy policy," McKenzie said.
"However this growing industry now faces an investment cliff with no federal policy in place for the decade ahead," he said. "The federal government has an opportunity to really capitalise on this boom."
"Research shows that a renewable energy target of 50 percent could create 28,000 additional jobs nationally in 2030."
"Renewable energy and storage technologies are clean, affordable and reliable, compared to ageing, expensive and inefficient fossil fuels. It's no surprise that Australians are taking up renewables such as rooftop solar in droves, taking control of their household power bills."
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