Want to fight climate change? Triple global renewables target to 11TW by 2030

0Renew Economy

The developed world is doing okay when it comes to renewable energy installations, but needs to set more ambitious targets and triple renewable capacity to 11 terawatts by 2030 to meet climate targets, according to energy think tank Ember.

The research group looks at 57 countries and the EU, and says there is so much more development in national pipelines that national targets should be lifted.

“The targets of today are already outdated and should be updated,” said Ember global analyst Dr Katye Altieri.

“Governments have yet to understand the revolution that’s underway with renewables. As we approach COP28, leaders should be confident in supporting a global goal to triple renewables; it is looking more possible than ever to achieve.

“Tripling renewable capacity worldwide is the single biggest action required this decade for the climate.

The question will be whether governments have the ambition to capitalise on the potential “explosion” of wind and solar power, says Ingrid Behrsin, Global Energy Monitor program director for renewables and other power.

She believes governments need to double down rather than be allowed to coast.

Australia tracking well on renewables, could do much better

Australia is one of 22 countries whose development pipelines exceed what they need to install to meet 2030 targets – although the problem is in the actual doing..

Australia has an 82 per cent renewable energy target for 2030, and needs to add at least 5GW of large cale renewables on average every year until 2030 to do that.

“Global Energy Monitor’s data on prospective solar and wind capacity for Australia shows that there is potentially three times more capacity already under construction or announced than its 2030 target, even though it excludes rooftop solar,” it says.

Within Australia, there is less optimism. Organisations such as the Clean Energy Council and even the Australian Energy Market Operator lament speed humps such as a lack of clear policy detail to guide the energy transition.

The Ember assessment, however, does capture more up-to-date details which are behind those worries, such as the fact that only four projects were approved in the June quarter.

The slow-down of Australia’s large-scale renewables sector this year was outlined by data released by the Clean Energy Regulator in September, which showed no new solar projects registered in the first two months of 2023/24 and  just 500MW of new capacity reached a final investment decision in the first six months of the year.

Blistering pace

Ember says the renewables boom globally, however, is already outpacing growth planned by governments generally, which aims for an estimated 7.3 terawatts (TW) in 2030, up from 3.4 TW in 2022.

Some countries do have ambitious targets in place.

Ten countries, including India, already aim to triple their renewable capacity. Twelve countries have wind and solar share targets that exceed the global goal of 40 per cent by 2030, including the US. A further 20 countries plan to shift more than 20% of their electricity mix from fossil fuels to renewables by 2030, including South Africa.

“A global energy transition that accelerates global renewable energy capacity to at least 11,000 GW by 2030 is the fastest and most cost-efficient way to build a clean, secure and just future,” says Global Renewables Alliance CEO Bruce Douglas.

A global energy transition that accelerates global renewable energy capacity to at least 11,000 GW by 2030 is the fastest and most cost-efficient way

“Countries can and must increase their ambition and update their national targets.

“This increased ambition, combined with urgent action on the financing, permitting, grids and supply chains would deliver cleaner electricity systems, access to affordable energy and green jobs for millions of people. On top of that billions of dollars in public and private capital would be unlocked, reducing loss and damage for nature and people wrought by harmful climate change.”

Rachel Williamson is a science and business journalist, who focuses on climate change-related health and environmental issues.


Specific targets and supportive policies

Australia needs to introduce a raft of specific targets and supportive policies – and an overarching “master plan” if it is keep pace with the federal government’s renewable energy ambitions, and if it is to keep pace with the rest of the world on the switch to green energy.

The Clean Energy Council has released its 55-page “Power Playbook” (EXCERPT BELOW) to get Australia’s stalling renewable energy transition back on track, and lay a path to reach a zero emissions – or 100 per cent renewable grid – by 2035 to ensure Australia’s climate targets can be met.

The Power Playbook includes a call for a Clean Energy Transformation Investment Package of around $10 billion over the next decade to boost Australia’s Australia’s international competitiveness.

It also calls for a “Renewable Energy Superpower Masterplan”, including extending the large scale renewable energy target from 2030 to 2040, including new national targets for rooftop solar and distributed energy storage, a national offshore wind target and support for home batteries and green hydrogen and green minerals.

It suggests that this “masterplan” could be best managed by the newly created Net Zero Authority.

The CEC says Australia is in a global race for capital and supply chains, and if it it serious about meeting its own target of 82 per cent renewables by 2030, and to become a renewable energy superpower, it needs to match the policies of competing nations.

“We need to make our own luck,” says Anna Freeman, the CEC’s policy director for de-carbonisation.

“Capital is on the march. We need to signal as quickly as possible that Australia intends to be a leader in clean energy and green commodities markets. If we don’t, we’ll find ourselves at the back of the queue for capital, technology and skilled workers.”

Those thoughts were echoed by the CEO of the Australian Energy Market Operator Daniel Westerman on Monday.

“Australia is of course among many nations around the world that are navigating this energy transition, so we are competing not only for material and labour in Australia, but in global markets and through global supply chains,” he said in a speech to a conference on Monday.

Freeman says it is clear that low-cost renewable energy is the foundation of a competitive Australia fit for the race to net zero, but without a master plan, and supportive policies and firm targets, investment won’t happen at the pace required.

Australia is already falling well behind its 2030 renewables target with delays in connections, transmission and other problems slowing the rollout of new large scale wind and solar projects to a crawl. Only the big battery and domestic rooftop solar sectors remain strong.

The CEC says the current incremental approach is inadequate.

Freeman says Australia needs to see a substantial increase in annual financial commitments in the order of 6 to 7 GW of new large-scale renewable projects from 2024, and about 3.5 GW of rooftop solar per year through to 2030, to reached the targeted 82 per cent renewables by 2030.

“We will then need to keep powering ahead in renewable energy deployment if we are to realise our ambition to be a renewable energy superpower.”

CEC chief executive Kane Thornton says Australia may not have the firepower to match the US in throwing resources at the green hydrogen and  critical minerals sector, but its first priority in any case must be to create access to low cost renewables.

“In a blizzard of ideas, our renewable energy future needs a single cohesive strategy for us to progress as a nation, our playbook helps Australia chart that course,” Thornton said.

“The decisions we make now will impact future generations, we can’t leave our energy future to chance.

“Australia has a transformative opportunity before it to leverage its tremendous renewable energy advantage for unprecedented economic expansion and green growth.

“But it cannot rely on its natural advantages alone to capture this opportunity. In the context of a global race to net zero emissions, we will need to act decisively to create our own luck. It will require levels of planning, co-ordination and investment the likes of which we have seen only in times of war or crisis.

“This defining moment in time – the climate crisis – deserves no lesser focus.”






1. Overview


The Australian Government should develop a ‘Renewable Energy Superpower Masterplan’ for Australia. The purpose of the masterplan is to articulate a national vision for the role Australia intends to play as a producer and exporter of clean energy and green value-added commodities, and to guide the allocation of public and private investment and resources.



Empower the Net Zero Authority to play a key role in communicating the vision, opportunities and challenges, as part of bringing Australians on
this nation-building journey. This could be combined with yearly public reporting on how we are tracking with implementing the Renewable Energy Superpower Masterplan.


The Australian Government should commit to – as soon as possible, and
no later than the 2024–25 Federal Budget – a nation-building Clean Energy Transformation Investment Package capable of boosting and retaining Australia’s international competitiveness as a producer of renewable energy and green value-added commodities, in the order of $10 billion per annum for at least ten years), or a minimum of $100 billion.



Prioritise the transformation of Australia’s electricity system, targeting the full decarbonisation of the electricity sector by 2035 in the Government’s new sectoral decarbonisation plan.


Section 2: Accelerating the deployment of generation, storage and transmission

2.1: Accelerating the deployment of renewable electricity generation



Provide a long-term national policy mechanism to drive increased and sustained investment in large-scale renewable energy projects and support achievement of an 82 per cent renewable energy share by 2030. The CEC’s preferred option is to increase the Large-scale Renewable Energy Target (LRET) and extend it beyond 2030 to at least 2040 as the most efficient and effective option.


2.2: Accelerating the deployment of energy storage (incl. distributed solar & storage)

Utility-scale/bulk storage


In regards to the CIS, the CEC recommends that:

The 6GW target be set as a floor, rather than a cap. This will allow for additional storage capacity volumes to be brought forward as necessary.

Timeframes for the CIS be extended, to recognise the storage volumes that will be required out to 2040 and 2050, and that different storage technologies have different risk profiles and lead times for delivery.

The CIS be designed to purposefully encourage a mix of technology solutions, by either partitioning the scheme itself, or explicitly valuing the specific capabilities of different technologies.

Flexibility be purposefully designed into the CIS, allowing the scheme to flex to account for a rapidly changing technological and commercial environment.




Governments should direct the AER, AEMC and AEMO to focus their work around developing techno-regulatory frameworks that explicitly recognise and value the capabilities of energy storage, and avoid simply mandating capability through regulatory standards.


Distributed solar & storage

  1. 2.23  Set a national rooftop solar target for 2030 and 2040, reflecting the Step Change scenario.
  2. 2.24  Set a National distributed energy storage and flexible energy target for 2030 and 2040, reflecting the Step Change scenario.



Support distributed battery installation uptake through an expansion of the Small-scale Renewable Energy Scheme (SRES), which will enable Australia to better exploit the immense value of rooftop solar, and support a more flexible and resilient system.


Prioritise the national co-ordination and delivery of the CER Implementation Plan to reward rooftop PV and storage for participation in wholesale markets and ancillary services markets, and that networks pay for access to solar generation and storage for network services through nationally consistent charging and accessing arrangements.

2.3: Supporting emerging forms of renewable energy generation

Offshore wind


Set a national offshore wind target to provide investor certainty in relation to the scale and ambition of Australia’s offshore sector, supported by a policy support mechanism which can drive contracting.


Lead the development of a national ports strategy, which considers Australia’s ports network as a whole and the demands that will be placed on it as a result of growing and emerging clean energy markets, including the offshore wind sector.

  1. 2.33  Provide targeted support and co-ordination for transmission enhancements to service key offshore wind zones.
  2. 2.34  Introduce incentives or financial support to ensure dedicated installation vessels are available to meet domestic needs.



Provide government support for environmental analysis of declared offshore wind regions, specifically coordination of regional marine baseline studies to ensure optimisation of niche research resources and avoid delays to projects waiting on required environmental studies.



2.4: Transmission deployment


Evaluate the benefits of a co-ordinated national delivery plan for all transmission projects of national significance to deliver cost and time savings.


Ministers to provide the AEMC with explicit instruction to consider the benefits of enhancing network resilience to the effects of climate change, through the NEO Harmonisation rule changes.

2.43 Ministers to provide funding for an industry collaborative approach to enable non-network solutions and to develop a circular planning model.



Ministers to direct concessional financing towards addressing ‘blackspots’ on the transmission network.

Section 3: Key enablers of our clean energy transformation

3.1: Social licence


Industry and governments should partner to jointly develop a best practice framework for community benefit sharing for large-scale generation, storage and transmission projects to ensure that host communities, including farmers and First Nations, enjoy the benefits of Australia’s clean energy transformation.


State Governments, supported by the Federal Government, should develop comprehensive programs to clearly communicate the importance of Renewable Energy zones, and renewable energy projects to communities in these areas.


Federal and State governments should jointly fund REZ Readiness Plans that assess local capabilities (e.g. Business capacity to support/supply projects, accommodation availability, skills/training needs), regional logistical constraints and community needs, to identify barriers and solutions

to ensure smooth project deployment in each REZ and a reduction in disruption to local communities.



The Federal government should create the Prime Minister’s Prize for Renewable Energy Innovation. This major funding round or competition would fund innovative utility-scale projects (not pilots) that demonstrate and measure how renewable energy can be deployed in ways that are “net positive” on their local environment. Funded projects should identify the incentives and reforms required to ensure these approaches and practices can be adopted commercially in the future.

3.2: Efficient planning & environmental assessment processes


The Commonwealth, state and territory governments need to build additional capacity within their planning and environmental assessment units and referral agencies in order to expedite assessment processes and provide transparency and clarity to projects as quickly as possible.



Governments can support efficient project development by undertaking region-wide environmental and social assessments of prospective renewable energy zones/regions, which will help direct development activity to suitable areas and reduce upfront costs and overall development timeframes for proponents.



3.3: A large, skilled and diverse workforce


Revisit higher education funding models to better align them with industry needs. These needs would be informed by mechanisms established to better anticipate workforce needs.

  1. 3.32  Work with State Governments to develop credible estimates of future clean energy workforce needs, to enable planning to meet industry needs.
  2. 3.33  Work with State Governments to provide strategic support and resources for training organisations to respond to industry needs.
  3. 3.34  Enhance the vocational education and training sector’s capacity to understand and meet the demands of industry.



Establish a clean energy skills funding package. The package should offer targeted support for training facilities to upskill regional workers in advance of critical transmission and renewable energy infrastructure development.


Raise the international profile of Australia as a centre for clean energy expertise, in order to retain and attract relevant professionals, and encourage aspiring young minds into relevant higher education.

3.4: Robust supply chains


The Federal Government should take the lead on strengthening domestic supply chains, developing a National Clean Energy Supply Chain Strategy. The success of any such strategy relies on credible, stable, ambitious, and long-term energy policies which provide an attractive investment environment. This strategy should include:

  • A whole-of-value-chain approach
  • Recognition of our competitive advantages
  • Substantial targeted government incentives for new local supply chain and manufacturing capability – facilities that utilise innovative technologies could attract higher levels of financial support.
  • Readily achievable targets, paired with capability and capacity building
  • Identification of priority green industrial clusters/zones
  • Consideration of critical infrastructure needs
  • Support for standards and domestic testing capabilities
  • A workforce plan
  • Futureproofing to automation and robotics
  • Support for the recycling of clean energy equipment at the end of life.





Establish an effective solar PV recycling stewardship scheme. The clean energy sector supports the impost of an end-of-life collection and recycling levy that would apply to manufacturers or suppliers of solar PV modules, which would set a specific price per weight or product.


Section 4: Electrification of buildings and transport


Communicate end dates for the sale of combustion-based household appliances and vehicles. These timeframes should be set as soon as possible in alignment with achieving Australia’s goal of net zero emissions by 2050.


New gas connections for homes and light commercial businesses (e.g. retail, offices) on the distribution network should be immediately banned by governments across Australia.


Provide incentives for early movers, ensuring that wherever appliances are replaced, consumers are strongly incentivised to select a more efficient electric appliance or vehicle. Priority should be given to supporting low- income households to be among the early movers.

46 4.4 Introduce a tax write-off for landlords who opt to replace broken gas-based

appliances with efficient electric ones.

4.6 Work with states and territories to invest strongly in clear and sustained public information throughout the electrification transition.


Employ regulation to enforce change by outlawing the sale of less efficient appliances and vehicles through tightening efficiency standards, including the promised fuel-efficiency standard for vehicles.


Work with states and territories to invest in workforce attraction and development for electricians, plumbers and other related occupations who will be vital to competently and safely manage the electrification transition.

Section 5: Green value-added production and exports

5.1: Green hydrogen


Expedite detailed strategic land use and infrastructure planning for identified hydrogen hubs/green industrial zones. This planning should consider the integrated system needs of a hydrogen production industry, and sector coupling opportunities (e.g. green iron, fertiliser production etc).


The Australian Government should outline its long-term support arrangements for large-scale hydrogen projects as soon as possible. We recommend that between $15–$20 billion should be allocated to revenue support for early mover projects over 10–15 years, as part of a broader $100 billion Clean Energy Transformation Investment Fund.



The Federal, State and Territory governments should set firm long-term targets for local, green materials content within their infrastructure projects, which could provide much-needed demand for the establishment of zero or low carbon manufacturing facilities.




The proposed Guarantee of Origin framework should be implemented in a timely manner, alongside the implementation of recommendation 2.11 (RET increase and extension), to provide Australia with an essential mechanism to be able to demonstrate the renewable electricity and environmental credentials of the products we produce, for both domestic and international consumption.


5.2: Minerals processing, including green iron


The Australian Government should:

  • Re-build and expand Australia’s mineral processing capabilities through investment attraction strategies.
  • Outline the Government’s vision and objectives for an expanded role in value-added processing in the battery supply chain.
  • Provide a substantial funding allocation within the Clean Energy Transformation Investment Fund to attract investment in energy transition minerals processing plants in Australia. This support could
    be offered in a variety or combination of ways, including production tax credits, capex subsidies, and tax write-offs. The criteria for accessing this financial support should be as simple and straight forward as possible.
  • Move to quickly declare green iron a priority development market, in light of the symbiotic relationship between green hydrogen and green iron, and the long lead times for new capital-intensive plant.
    • Support R&D efforts to enable a green iron industry to utilise our large hematite resources.
    • Allocate at least $10-15 billion of the Clean Energy Transformation Investment Fund to attracting early mover green iron plants in Australia over the coming decade.
  • As discussed in Section 5.1, set firm long-term targets for local, green materials content within infrastructure projects, which could provide much-needed demand for the establishment of zero or low carbon green iron manufacturing facilities.




Low-cost, renewable energy – the foundation of Australia’s net zero transformation

The build out of bulk electricity and storage at scale, supported by a strengthened and expanded transmission system will be key to delivering not just our own domestic emissions reductions goals, but also for establishing Australia as an attractive destination for energy-intensive processing of green value-added commodities, such as hydrogen and its derivatives, fertilisers, green iron and alumina.

The three elements of low-cost renewables: generation, storage and transmission

AEMO has clearly detailed in previous Integrated System Plans that a combination of variable renewable energy (wind and solar) and energy storage (batteries, pumped hydro and the many other forms of long- duration energy storage [LDES] technologies) will deliver lowest cost electricity supply, as coal-fired power generators retire. This generation and storage capacity will need to be supported by a much larger electricity transmission network.

It is vital that this generation, storage and transmission capacity is deployed ahead of coal generation retirements, in order to support a smooth transition and avoid electricity market volatility and price spikes.

We note that these three elements – generation, storage and transmission – act both as complements, as well as partial substitutes, for each other, as illustrated in the figure below. For example, changing the amount of generation built may be enabled through a change in either (or both) the amount of:

transmission – to enable better sharing of available generation through space, storage – to enable better sharing of available generation through time.

Figure3: Interdependencies between Australia’s build out of generation, storage and transmission infrastructure


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