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CLIMATE ACTION PROGRAMME

17 February 2017

Renewables set for biggest year in half a century in Australia

2017 will be a big year for renewables in Australia with more than 20 large-scale renewable energy projects that are either under construction or pending construction, with a newly installed capacity of over 2,250 megawatts (MW).

According to analysis by the Clean Energy Council, the projects will create almost 3,000 direct jobs and generate an impressive $5 billion in investments.

Kane Thornton, Chief Executive of Clean Energy Council, said that the installation of over 2,250 MW was the largest amount of newly added renewable capacity since the Snowy Hydro Scheme more than 50 years ago.

Thornton added: “We are set for a huge 2017, with more than 20 major projects either actively under construction or which have secured funding and will go to construction this year. This investment is occurring due to the extraordinary cost reductions achieved in renewable energy, underpinned by the bipartisan political support for the 2020 Renewable Energy Target (RET), the Australian Renewable Energy Agency, the Clean Energy Finance Corporation and various initiatives of state and territory governments.”

According to figures, Queensland and New South Wales will benefit greatly from wind and large-scale solar this year, with projects also underway in South Australia and Victoria.

State and territory governments have been instrumental in restoring confidence in renewable energy and securing investment.

Renewable energy, while increasingly cost effective in recent years, is also particularly suitable in Australia due to its steep variances in population – with densely populated coastal regions and vast and sparsely polluted rural areas.

Thornton went on to say: “Given the nature of renewable energy projects, regional parts of the country will benefit from many of these job opportunities, while the projects will provide flow-on benefits to the many different businesses involved. This new wind and solar power will help our system cope during periods where everyone is using lots of electricity. As we saw in New South Wales during the heatwaves a few days ago, every generator counts when the heat is on.”

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