Go to top of page

Chair's review

David Parker, Chair, Clean Energy Regulator

Australia’s transition to renewable energy is proceeding at a rapid pace and the overall emissions intensity of the electricity sector is now falling quickly. In another strong year of investment in renewables, we saw a record 5600 megawatts of capacity installed under the Renewable Energy Target. This confirms Australia will have more than enough renewable energy capacity to meet the 2020 Renewable Energy Target. The Renewable Energy Target is an important part of the transition to a clean energy future, helping to bring down emissions in the electricity sector. We believe investment in renewables will remain at a high level into the foreseeable future, as commercial factors and state-based incentives and processes are becoming stronger drivers for investors. The emerging challenge is how to manage the stability and reliability of the electricity grid and potential price volatility as we experience higher penetration of renewable energy combined with decreasing coal fired generation. We will continue to provide key information and insights gathered through our schemes to help manage this transition. We will also maintain our focus on emissions reduction. This year Emissions Reduction Fund projects created a record level of 13.7 million tonnes of carbon abatement. In February 2019, the Government also announced an additional $2 billion in the Climate Solutions Fund to continue momentum towards reaching Australia’s 2030 emissions reduction target. The Climate Solutions Fund will target new sources of projects and investment, and is expected to continue to purchase more carbon abatement at the lowest cost. We will continue to work with industry to step up supply through outreach activities, market development information and support for market innovation to encourage greater participation in carbon farming. While encouraging carbon abatement projects, it is equally important to ensure Australia’s largest emitters keep their emissions below set baselines. This is achieved through the Safeguard Mechanism. During the reporting year, we prepared for changes to the Safeguard Mechanism, which are intended to make it fairer and simpler, and ensure baselines reflect current circumstances. We are working to reset baselines, update tools and resources for stakeholders, and provide information about the amendments to support facilities as they transition to new arrangements.

 David Parker AM, Chair, Clean Energy Regulator