Time to Return to Bipartisanship on the RET

“While the ongoing investment freeze caused by the current review makes achieving the current target increasingly challenging, the renewable energy industry has a long track record of delivering targets ahead of time – and at lower cost than anticipated.

“The Warburton review showed that we have too much coal-fired power generation in Australia, not too much renewable energy. Recent polls by Crosby Textor and others show that voters overwhelmingly want to see Australia use more renewable energy, and less coal-fired electricity.”

The Federal Government has not convinced the industry or the public of a need to change the Renewable Energy Target (RET) and should leave it alone, the renewable energy industry’s peak body said today in response to comments from Industry Minister Ian Macfarlane.

Clean Energy Council Acting Chief Executive Kane Thornton said while it was reassuring that the Federal Government had indicated it would not do anything that damaged billions of dollars in existing investment, the options it has discussed to date – like a so-called ‘real’ 20 per cent – would decimate the industry.

“Neither the government nor the Warburton review has made any convincing argument for reducing the RET, particularly as the review’s own economic modelling showed every scenario for reducing the target would result in higher power bills,” Mr Thornton said.

“The renewable energy industry is calling on the Federal Government to re-establish the long history of bipartisan support for the RET and honour its election commitment to the current policy and target.

“The ongoing uncertainty is impacting thousands of businesses and the 21,000 people they employ across the country. Every week that passes there are more stories of businesses shrinking or closing and people losing their jobs in this sector.

“The suggestion of a deadlock in the Senate and the prolonged uncertainty that would result is concerning, but the recommendations put forward by the Warburton review are so unworkable that the renewable energy industry would rather an uncertain future than certain destruction,” he said.

Mr Thornton said the Warburton review and the ongoing political uncertainty had blown investment confidence in the industry.

“Having a review every two years of a policy expected to attract long-term investment is madness, which is why we have consistently asked for this to be removed from the legislation,” Mr Thornton said.

“While the ongoing investment freeze caused by the current review makes achieving the current target increasingly challenging, the renewable energy industry has a long track record of delivering targets ahead of time – and at lower cost than anticipated.

“The Warburton review showed that we have too much coal-fired power generation in Australia, not too much renewable energy. Recent polls by Crosby Textor and others show that voters overwhelmingly want to see Australia use more renewable energy, and less coal-fired electricity.”

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