The Australian federal government has announced an expanded Capacity Investment Scheme to support renewable energy and storage.
It will deliver a combined 32 gigawatts of variable capacity, like large-scale solar and wind farms, and dispatchable capacity — such as big batteries.
The federal government’s decision to expand the original six gigawatts of additional power planned under the scheme to 32 gigawatts will ensure the government is on track to meet its renewable energy target, and puts Australia on the path to a fully renewable energy grid.
The 32 gigawatts will consist of nine gigawatts of storage and 23 gigawatts of variable renewable energy.
The delivery the energy infrastructure will double the renewable energy in Australia’s electricity grid and is equivalent to more than 10 times the current total electricity generation capacity in the whole of Tasmania.
The extra renewable power is equivalent to more than 10 times’ the capacity of the ailing Eraring coal-fired power station, Australia’s largest power station.
Hunter Jobs Alliance Coordinator Justin Page said: “The transition away from coal is a global reality, and in a time of change, we need to build new sustainable industries and opportunities to ensure the Hunter remains a great place to live for both us and our children.
“This level of investment in renewable energy infrastructure will mean local workers will have more opportunities in the transition, and are better placed to move into future-proof careers.”
On 8 December 2022, all federal, state and territory ministers agreed to establish the Capacity Investment Scheme (CIS) with the promise that it would serve as a national framework to encourage new investment in dispatchable renewable energy, support reliability of the electricity grid, reduce the risk of price shocks in Australia’s rapidly changing energy market.
The scheme aims to decrease financial risks for investors and encourage more investment in capacity when and where it is needed.
It will also support the nation’s energy system to reach 82 per cent renewable energy by 2030.
Nexa Advisory CEO and Energy Expert Stephanie Bashir said: “Shoring up new renewables and storage will go a long way towards meeting our 2030 climate targets and, importantly, it ensures reliable and secure replacement generation is in place as ageing and unreliable coal power stations shut.
“Supercharging the CIS minimises negative impacts on consumers, which is the most equitable solution for all of us during this once-in-a-lifetime energy transition.”