Australia Overhauls Renewable Energy Scheme

25 February 2010 (Last Updated February 25th, 2010 18:30)

Australia moved to help unlock billions of dollars in stalled wind and solar energy projects by reshaping its troubled renewables scheme. The government said it will split its clean energy scheme to separate the household market from large renewable project investments, Climate Change

Australia moved to help unlock billions of dollars in stalled wind and solar energy projects by reshaping its troubled renewables scheme.

The government said it will split its clean energy scheme to separate the household market from large renewable project investments, Climate Change Minister Penny Wong announced today, reports Reuters.

The move is designed to drive investment in clean energy.

"These changes are expected to deliver more renewable energy than the original 20% target and will ensure we build the clean energy future Australia needs," Wong said.

Last year the country introduced a scheme to lower reliance on coal-fired electricity and set a target 45,000 gigawatt hours of clean power, or 20% of energy, over the next decade.

The scheme required major energy companies to buy tradeable Renewable Energy Certificates, or RECs. The market for these in turn would help the financial viability of around A$22bn ($19.5bn) worth of planned wind farms and other large-scale renewable energy projects, reports Reuters.

But the value of RECs has plummeted and the value of certificates slumped to around A$30.

The scheme has failed to support a single major project in the six months since it was passed by parliament, prompting calls for the 20% to apply to large-scale plants only.