Australia: Don’t take a backward step on renewables

While the rest of the world steps up efforts to tackle climate change and reduce the dominance of coal, the head of one of the world's leading wind turbine manufacturers has urged Australia to end the uncertainty around the Renewable Energy Target.

As Parliament prepares to wind up for the year, the founder and managing director of the Suzlon Group, Tulsi Tanti, said: "One thing is clear the world over: investment in clean energy requires a clear and stable policy environment. In Australia, investment in clean energy projects has stalled while the Renewable Energy Target is reviewed."

With India planning to more than double the share of renewables in the mix of fuels over the next five years, Mr Tanti said every nation needs a "long-term investment-grade policy that will underpin the move to a clean energy economy".

The Suzlon Group is one of the world's leading wind turbine manufacturers, with operations in over 31 countries, over 10,000 employees and over 24 gigawatts of wind power installations globally. Senvion Australia, part of the Suzlon Group, began developing and building wind farms in Australia 12 years ago, and represents a third of the wind industry's investment in Australia to date across 18 wind farms.

Australia's Renewable Energy Target, which had enjoyed bipartisan support, is for 41,000 gigawatt hours of electricity to come from large-scale renewable sources by 2020. The Federal Coalition now wants to change the legislation and cut the target to 26,000 gigawatt hours.

Mr Chris Judd, the CEO of Senvion Australia said the Coalition's broken promise to the industry was inexplicable. "This is backward thinking that is out of sync with the rest of the world, and will leave Australians paying higher bills for a dirtier future," Mr Judd said.

Calling for a return to bipartisan support, Mr Judd said: "Australia's reputation as a safe place to invest now has a big question mark over it, and we are missing out on billions of capital that is now flowing to countries with stable and supportive policy environments for clean energy."

Mr Tanti said wind was now globally competitive with coal. "As the leading wind energy majors continue to leverage on their technology edge, we have witnessed a reduction in the cost and an increase in reliability. All these developments will surely boost the growth of the global wind industry in the future."

Mr Tanti said Australia should take its cue from the latest UN Climate Change Report. "The recent IPCC Synthesis Report found that it is imperative that countries the world over, including Australia, adopt and support renewable energy initiatives so that by 2050, 80% of the world's electricity could be produced from low-carbon sources such as wind energy.

"This will protect our environment from irreversible damage, a situation which is staring us in the face at the moment."

Australia: Don’t take a backward step on renewables (PDF; 19kByte)