Australia's Renewable Energy Target for 2020 will be 33,000 GWhpa, after a deal was hammered out today by the Federal Government and the Opposition Labor Party – but Labor will not support including wood waste burning in the target.

This should give the renewable energy industry, and other key stakeholders, some much needed certainty in the industry's future.

New RET will require significant increases in renewable generation

The current (2015) target for large-scale renewable generation (other than 850 MWh for waste coal-seam gas) is 18,000 GWh per annum, so the revised target provides for a substantial increase in renewable energy capacity – 15,000 GWhpa – over the next five years.

If the additional generation was met from wind turbines of 3MW rating with a capacity factor of 40%, this would require an additional 1,420 wind turbines to be constructed. That is equivalent to another 10 wind farms the size of Macarthur Wind Farm, which is the largest wind farm in the South Hemisphere (with 140 turbines of 3MW capacity).

RET as one part of the climate change policy

This is the third element of the Government's climate change response, and comes just after the close of the consultation period for the Safeguard Mechanism, which is intended to prevent increases in emissions in the economy while the Government seeks to acquire emissions abatement through the Emissions Reduction Fund, and the first Emissions Reduction Fund auction.