Minister for Energy and Emissions Reduction Angus Taylor (Image: AAP/Mick Tsikas)

Some rare goods news on the climate and energy front: Australia is on track to beat its 2020 renewable energy target (RET).

The Clean Energy Regulator says it has recently approved enough new renewable energy projects to ensure the target of generating 33,000 gigawatt hours of renewable energy will be met a year ahead of the 2020 deadline. That means about 20% of Australia’s electricity use will be coming from large-scale and rooftop solar energy, wind farms and hydro power plants.

The RET was initially put in place by prime minister John Howard in 2001, to source an additional 2% of electricity from renewable energy by 2010. Since then it has been adjusted several times -- most notably when the Rudd government expanded the scheme, followed by the Abbott government’s appointment of climate sceptic Dick Warburton to review the target with a view to getting rid of it all together. Investment in large-scale renewable energy dropped by 90% in the year after the review was announced and 2300 people lost their jobs in the sector.