NEWSFLASH : PM Abbott Reportedly Planning To Axe RET

The Australian Financial Review is reporting Prime Minister Tony Abbott has requested the head of the Renewable Energy Target review panel to “to do more work on the option of terminating the target altogether”. 
     
The revelation is sending shockwaves throughout the solar industry this morning; although this has been suspected by many for some time due to Prime Minister Abbott’s views on renewable energy and the makeup of the review panel. The panel is led by former Caltex chairman and climate change sceptic Dick Warburton. Doubts have also been raised concerning the impartiality of some of the other panel members.
   
The Clean Energy Council was quick to respond to the report.
  
“Such a move would be reckless, given the government’s own analysis shows slashing the RET would save no money on power bills, yet would devastate billions of dollars of investments made in good faith in renewable energy projects across the country,” said Clean Energy Council Acting Chief Executive Kane Thornton . 
  
“It would also be out of touch with the vast majority of Australians who want more renewable energy, as demonstrated by the fact that 99 per cent of the 24,000 submissions to the review of the policy called for it to be maintained or increased –- and the fact that over 4 million Australians already live or work under a solar power system. Australians clearly want to follow the rest of the world in increasing the use of renewable energy.”
  
AFR sources state Environment Minister Greg Hunt has been sidelined from the process and is not happy about the situation.
   
Earlier today we reported that even a scaling back of the RET would provide a windfall for coal and gas generators to the tune of $10 billion over the next 15 years; while increasing power bills for households and businesses.
    
Australian Solar Council CEO John Grimes stated the RET Review process was heading to a biased and predetermined outcome earlier this year.
  
Axing the RET entirely would also remove existing incentives for households that reduce the cost of a solar power system by thousands of dollars.
  
UPDATE: 4.30PM. Finance Minister Mathias Cormann has said the government’s position was to “keep the renewable energy target in place”. 
  
Business Spectator’s Tristan Edis speculates the rumour of axing the RET is “actually a strategic leak by the Prime Minister’s Office to recast the terms of the debate…. Abbott is keen for the Warburton Review to push the boundaries of the debate, to make cutting the target to the ‘real 20 per cent’ option appear reasonable and middle of the road.”
  
We’ve also heard from the Australian Solar Council that the Prime Minister’s office has today received the Warburton RET Review report, but at this point is refusing to release details.
    
Related:
    
Renewable Energy Target – Cost Vs. Value