Earlier this year Bill Shorten unveiled a bold plan to bring 50% of Australia's electricity generated by renewable sources by 2030. A plan he said would be shot down by scare tactics by the current government.
But the Scottish Government just announced it reached that same target. In 2014.
In 2014 49.7% of gross electrical consumption came from renewable sources, meaning that Scotland hit its 2015 target a year early. That's an 11.9% increase on the 2013 figure.
“Today’s figures show that Scotland’s renewables sector is stronger than ever and our early adoption of clean, green energy technology and infrastructure was the right thing to do," said Scotland' Energy Minister Fergus Ewing. "It is fantastic news that renewables are now Scotland’s biggest electricity generator, and that nearly half of gross electricity consumption comes from renewables."
Australia's current official renewable energy target is 22.5% by 2020. Bill Shorten wants to increase that to 50% by 2030, to be in line with more ambitious countries around the world.
Obviously there are differences between the countries — Scotland potential as a natural resource base for renewable energy is high, with wind, wave and tide became the main sources of electricity. And compared the remainder of the United Kingdom, Scotland punches dramatically above its weight. Part of that has to do with the devolved Government's focus on green issues. The Conservative UK government hasn't put quite the same amount of faith into renewables as the Scottish Government.
The current Scottish government intends to push forward with its commitment to renewable energy.
“Despite damaging policy changes from the UK Government, we will continue to harness – and bolster – Scotland’s renewables potential, both in generation and infrastructure," said Fergus Ewing. "At the end of Q3 2015, there was 7,504 MW of installed renewables electricity capacity in Scotland, an increase of 4.6% over the year."
Australia's potential for renewables is high. Many peer reviewed studies believe it is feasible (and economically beneficial) for Australia to move towards 100% dependence on renewable energy.
Some countries are running close to 100% on renewable. Countries like Costa Rica, who recently announced that 99% of its electricity came from renewables. Ethiopia and Uruguay posted similar numbers and Denmark recently produced 140% of its electricity demand via wind turbines.