NEWSFLASH : Renewable Energy Target Review Report Released

The Renewable Energy Target (RET) Review report is now publicly available – and with worst fears confirmed, the backlash has begun in earnest.
    
The report recommends the closure or rapid winding down of the Small-scale Renewable Energy Scheme (SRES). This component of the RET provides support for the purchase of small commercial and home solar power systems. Should the subsidy be scrapped, it could add thousands onto the cost of a system. 
   
It also recommends reducing system size eligibility – from 100kW down to 10kW maximum and also a reduction in the amount of subsidisation for solar hot water systems and heat pumps.
  
For the LRET (large scale), the report recommends barring new entrants or dropping the target to a “real” 20%.
      
The Clean Energy Council says the recommendations could cause massive financial damage to over $10 billion worth of investments already made and put 21,000 jobs at risk.
   
“It is inconceivable that the review could objectively recommend slashing the RET when its own economic modelling showed this would lead to higher power bills in the long run, while at the same time smashing billions of dollars of investment,” said Clean Energy Council Acting Chief Executive Kane Thornton.
 
John Grimes, CEO of the Australian Solar Council, was also scathing of the report; calling it the “most dangerous and extreme attack on solar and renewable energy in Australia’s history”. 
 
“The Warburton inquiry has been a complete sham from start to finish. It is Tony Abbott’s love child,” he said. 
   
Greenpeace called the report a “kick in the guts to renewable energy.”
  
“The two options recommended by the Warburton panel would be a disaster for the renewables industry,” said Ben Pearson, Head of Program for Greenpeace Australia Pacific. 
  
“The Dirty Three – Origin Energy, EnergyAustralia and AGL – have walked the wrong path in growing their investment in dirty fossil fuel generation assets at the expense of renewable energy. Designing policy to better the fortunes of The Dirty Three and save their dirty assets from further competition is a backward step.”
   
The Australian Greens labelled the report “climate denier drivel”
   
“I’m glad this dangerous and ignorant report is finally public, so everyone can see it for the climate denier drivel it is. The outcome was determined long ago,” said Greens Leader Senator Christine Milne.
   
“A strong Renewable Energy Target helps Australia ride the transition to sustainable energy. Without it, we risk falling off the back of the wave and being stuck in a quagmire of ever rising fossil fuel prices. Really, we don’t need to wait and see how the government will respond to this report it commissioned, with a hand-picked climate sceptic at the helm. What we need to do is throw the RET report in the bin.”
    
Solar advocacy group Solar Citizens says the report was out of step with the majority of Australians. Just yesterday the group presented Coalition MPs Sarah Henderson and Warren Entsch with a petition signed by more than 25,000 people demanding the Federal Government to retain or expand the Target.
    
“A Review Panel made up of individuals with strong links to the big energy companies was never going to deliver a reasonable report,” said Solar Citizens Campaigns Director Claire O’Rourke.
     
“Tony Abbott hand picked an anti-solar panel and today they have delivered the anti-solar review he asked for. Solar Citizens supports industry calls for an inquiry into the handling of the review that has been flawed and compromised from the start.”
      
Full Report [PDF] 
Executive Summary and Recommendations [PDF]