Rann, who is also Minister for Sustainability and Climate Change, and Economic Development, announced a new A$20 million Renewable Energy Fund to accelerate investment in this sector. “We already lead the nation in renewable energy production, but we want to create a new industry in South Australia so we become Australia’s green energy powerhouse,” he said.
The Renewable Energy Fund will also support the Australian State Government’s new target, which aims for one-third of South Australia’s electricity generation to come from renewable energy by 2020. “The Rudd Government has asked every state to reach a 20% target for renewable electricity generation by 2020. We had a much more ambitious target in South Australia to reach that 20% by 2014. We are going to reach our target ahead of our 2014 deadline, and years ahead of the national deadline. So we’re now announcing an even tougher target of 33% by 2020 which will keep us at the forefront internationally of jurisdictions supporting renewable energy.”
According to Rann, South Australia is home to 56% of the nation’s wind power, 90% of its geothermal investment and nearly 30% of its grid-connected domestic solar systems, by far the highest in Australia.
The first project to be funded from the Renewable Energy Fund will be the South Australian Centre of Excellence for Geothermal Research at the University of Adelaide, which will receive A$1.6m over two years.