Australia—No 100% 2050 Commitment
Benchmark: 20% by 2020
Australia has released a Renewable Energy Target (RET) scheme to encourage the growth of renewables, but the goal of 100% renewables by 2050 is out of the scope of the current plan. The nation has a goal of 100% Net-Zero carbon emissions by the 2050 benchmark, but the current benchmark for renewable production is focused on 20% by 2020.
The RET outlines goals for increased renewable production on both a small and large scale. This is the most comprehensive plan for renewable energy expansion and has put the nation on course to beat its 2020 renewable energy target. This projection also predicts 51% renewable by 2050. However, while it is encouraging that Australia is meeting its stated goals, these goals are far below the renewable energy targets of other developed nations.
There are several projects underway to increase Australia’s renewable energy production and an increasing push for further development in this sector from oil and coal workers.
Currently, hydropower in the form of tidal power is a significant source of renewable energy in Australia. A current project underway will map the total tidal potential of the country to aid in the development of infrastructure to capture this energy. If fully implemented, it is likely that this could provide a significant amount of renewable energy for Australia, but exact figures are still being calculated.
Solar also has huge potential in Australia and is being developed at a faster pace than other technologies. The largest solar farm in the country is the Greenough River Solar Farm, which opened in 2012 and generates 10 MegaWatts of power. This, along with other solar farms, will continue to move Australia towards its renewable energy target. Unfortunately a planned 100 MW solar farm—the Mildura Solar Concentrator Power Station—planned for operation in 2017 was cancelled. Aside from this, most smaller projects in development are fairly spread out and collectively contribute to meeting the needs of approximately 20% of the overall power consumption.