Major parties urged to promote policy stability on clean energy Media Release

Dec 19, 2012 - 11:00am

The Climate Institute today welcomed the final report from the Climate Change Authority’s Renewable Energy Target (RET) review and urged bipartisan support for the scheme to remain unchanged. 

“Australia now generates enough renewable energy to power more than three million households,” said Erwin Jackson, Deputy CEO of The Climate Institute. “The Renewable Energy Target is helping clean up our electricity sector and sets Australia on the road to a zero emission power sector in the coming decades.” 

“It has underpinned some $18 billion in investment in clean energy in Australia since 2001, and can encourage a further $18 billion in the years to 2020. Well-designed renewable energy policies are a critical complement to cost effective climate change policy while the global carbon prices are immature.” 

The Climate Change Authority (CCA) today recommended that reviews of the scheme be reduced in frequency from the current two-yearly intervals to four-year intervals to help provide stability for investors. 

“Stop-start changes to the renewable target have undermined investor confidence and stymied investment in clean energy,” said Jackson. “To deliver lower cost and affordable clean energy investors in renewables need stability and predictability from policymakers.” 

“It’s important that the Federal Government adopts the CCA’s recommendations to keep the fixed renewable energy target unchanged without delay, to end the months of uncertainty clouding the energy sector.” 

“Both major political parties recognize the benefits of the renewable target and are in support of it,” said Jackson. “The target enables us make better use of our natural wind and solar resources, supports development of new industries and skills and provides a hedge against rising gas prices and global carbon costs."

“We urge both parties to maintain the large-scale renewable target in its current form.” 

Jackson added: “Calls from some major vested interests to cut the target ignore the fact that this wouldn’t actually make it cheaper for consumers. The costs of clean energy are decreasing, not increasing. Cutting the target increases the risks for investors, increases our reliance on coal and gas, and increases pollution. All of these factors ultimately translate into higher power prices.” 

Modelling by the CCA indicates that keeping the renewable energy target in its current form would cost the average consumer $15/year (30c/week) over the years to 2030. For this investment, the renewable target will reduce Australia’s carbon pollution by 217 million tonnes –more than the annual emissions from Australia’s entire electricity fleet. 

“The combined policy suite of the carbon laws, the renewable target and multi-billion investments in energy efficiency, clean energy and carbon farming are a solid foundation to build a competitive and resilient low pollution economy. However, with poor energy productivity, raising emissions from transport and little investment in clean energy outside the renewable industry policy gaps do remain,” said Jackson.  

For more information 

Kristina Stefanova, Communications Director, The Climate Institute,  02 8239 6299

Erwin Jackson, Deputy CEO, The Climate Institute,  02 8239 6299

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