Australia’s Renewable Energy Target – Stability Crucial

Flip flops isn’t just an American term for a popular form of Aussie footwear; it also describes our country’s approach to renewable energy at times – and to our detriment.
The Federal Government’s Climate Change Authority is currently undertaking a review of  Australia’s Renewable Energy Target, currently set at 20 per cent of Australia’s energy to be gained from renewable sources by 2020.
The Clean Energy Council has called for the Federal Government to ensure the Renewable Energy Target remains unchanged, stating that it was crucial to promoting investment, driving job creation and continuing to push down costs for consumers.
“The Renewable Energy Target is the single most important policy measure for the entire Australian renewables sector,” said Clean Energy Council Chief Executive David Green.
“Any changes to the Renewable Energy Target will shatter this stability and remove investor confidence in clean energy, negating the industry’s ability to support Australia’s shift to clean energy sources and to reduce energy costs for consumers in the long-term. The fact a review is even being held is already contributing to uncertainty in the market.”
The CEC believes alterations to policy could damage returns on investments already made and consequently, Australia’s reputation with regard to energy infrastructure investment.
The organisation states the Renewable Energy Target has generated around $18.5 billion of investment and thousands of jobs, seen 1.7 million home solar power and solar hot water systems installed and resulted in the equivalent of more than 2.1 million households being powered by large scale renewables to date.
“To date, it has also been the single largest carbon abatement scheme in Australia and without it Australia would not have achieved its emissions reductions target under the Kyoto Protocol,” says Mr. Green.
Left untouched, current policies would see a further $30 billion in investment and a total reduction of 380 million tonnes in carbon emissions over the life of the scheme.
“The cost of the Renewable Energy Target contributes just 7 per cent to the average Australian electricity bill, and this is forecast to drop to just 4 per cent by 2020 – with even greater potential savings as we all become smarter about how we use our energy.”
Submissions in response to an initial issues paper released by the Climate Change Authority are due today. The Clean Energy Council’s submission can be viewed here.