Discussing NSW Government's Draft Renewable Action Plan, NSW Parliamentary Secretary for Renewable Energy, Dr Rob Stokes told a CEDA audience in Sydney that one of the main objectives of the plan is to support the national target of increasing renewable energy to 20 per cent by 2020.
"We want to ensure that as much of the investment in renewable energy as possible is returned to benefit citizens of NSW," he said.
He said Australia is seeing an energy transformation that is inevitable and revolutionary.
"There is a changing energy mix in Australia. A decade ago 85 per cent of stationary energy production was from coal, today it's about 75 per cent," he said.
"The role of gas has doubled to 15 per cent and renewables (excluding hydro) has increased by a factor of 10."
Although hydro has traditionally formed the basis of renewable energy generation in NSW, non-hydro energy has increased by 43 per cent, he said.
"We are a Pandora's box. We have a lot of everything in NSW. The challenge is we have so many choices," he said.
"When we look over time at cost structures, solar thermal and solar photovoltaic (PV) are set to decline dramatically.
"We are keen to promote the deployment and large range of renewables because we believe in the long term, solar PV, solar thermal and others will have an enormous capacity."
He said the deployment of renewable energy will be matched with an increase in energy efficiency resulting in lower costs to consumers.
To attract renewable energy investment, he said the following actions would take place:
He also said the Draft Renewable Energy Target (RET) discussion paper, released by the Climate Change Authority on Friday 26 October 2012, will assist in creating jobs in regional and rural NSW and the Government will actively engage with the community throughout the implementation of the plan.
"We run on a platform of engaging with local community and returning the local planning powers to the local community. We are very keen to engage early and effectively in community consultation," he said.
He said precinct coordinators will work with the community to explain the benefits and costs of renewable energy generation.
On attracting and growing renewable energy expertise, Dr Stokes said the Government has identified hubs for the research and development of renewable energy, including at the University of New England, the University of Newcastle and the University of Wollongong.
Climate Change Authority, CEO, Anthea Harris said the most controversial draft recommendation in preparing the RET discussion paper was the issue of targets.
She said as the RET discussion paper was based on consultations and submissions, several views on targets were discussed for the large-scale renewable energy target (LRET) and the small-scale renewable energy scheme (SRES).
From these consultations and submissions, Ms Harris outlined some of the following recommendations:
She said the draft recommendations of the RET were based on the following four objectives:
The Climate Change Authority was established on 1 July 2012 and provides independent advice on the carbon price, emissions, reduction targets, caps and trajectories, and other Australian Government climate change initiatives.
The Climate Change Authority welcomes feedback on the Draft Renewable Energy Target discussion paper from the business and government community by 14 November 2012.