NSW falls from renewables leader to national 'laggard'

NEW South Wales has gone from being a leader in renewable energy to "laggards", according to a new report from the Climate Council.

The report says South Australia is charging ahead of the rest of the country, with $5.5 billion invested in renewable energy since 2003 and almost half of that occurring in regional areas.

>> THE AUSTRALIAN RENEWABLE ENERGY RACE: WHICH STATES ARE WINNING OR LOSING?

South Australia now generates more than 36% of its electricity from renewable sources and one-in-four SA homes has solar PV panels.

By contrast, the report slams Victoria and NSW because neither state has targets to reduce emissions or increase renewable energy.

Renewable energy rankings from the latest Climate Council report.
Renewable energy rankings from the latest Climate Council report.

However, it does note that the recent NSW Renewable Energy Action Plan includes 24 actions and three goals designed to encourage renewable energy in NSW which "may indicate a welcome shift in NSW's approach".

But Greens MP John Kaye said NSW was "rapidly becoming a renewable energy black hole".

He said the wind and solar industries were "hanging by a thread" and called on Premier Mike Baird to implement a state-based Renewable Energy Target (RET).

"In the face of unprecedented hostility from the Abbott Government, a state-based RET will signal to the clean energy sector that whatever happens federally, there will be a secure market for clean energy in this state," Dr Kaye said.

Key points for NSW

In 2003, New South Wales led the world by introducing the first mandatory greenhouse gas trading scheme - the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Scheme.

The target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 2000 levels by 2025 was abandoned when the O'Farrell Government came to power in 2011.

NSW is now the last among the states for new per capita investment in renewable energy.

With the biggest population, NSW's annual greenhouse gas emissions are the largest of any state and territory, representing 27.4% of the national total. Most of these emissions come from the mining and burning of coal.



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