The breakdown in negotiations between the Government and Labor over Australia’s Renewable Energy Target has left the clean energy industry reeling.
Mr Chris Judd, the CEO of Senvion Australia that has helped build a third of the nation’s wind farms, said the Government’s proposal to slash the target would condemn Australia to a more polluted and costly future.
“The Coalition wants to make Australia the first country in the world to go backwards with its clean energy target by mandating that at least 80% of power must come from fossil fuels,” Mr Judd said.
“This is backward thinking that is out of sync with the rest of the world, and will leave Australians to pay higher bills for a dirtier future,” Mr Judd said.
The current legislated Target, which has enjoyed bipartisan support until now, is for 41,000 gigawatt hours of electricity to come from large scale renewable sources by 2020.
The Federal Government now wants to go back on a pre-election commitment and wind back the target to 26,000 gigawatt hours.
“This is a broken promise to an industry that is now struggling in the face of stalled investment, and a backwards step in moving to a low carbon economy, and ensuring affordable energy for everyday Australians,” Mr Judd said.
“Investment in new renewable energy projects requires a return to the pre-election bipartisan commitment for a strong and effective RET. Australia’s reputation as a safe place to invest now has a big question mark over it, and we are already missing out on billions of capital that is now flowing to other countries with stable and supportive policy environments for clean energy,” he said.
The renewables industry has been closely following negotiations between the Government and the Opposition, with the hope of a bipartisan agreement.
Mr Judd said: “We call on the Government to stay true to its commitment to a 41,000 gigawatthour renewable energy target. If we reduce the target, we will lock in our reliance on ageing coal fired power stations that pollute our environment and damage public health, putting us out of step with the rest of the world.”
The industry is now on tenterhooks as it is not clear how and when the future of this important policy will be decided.
“The Australian clean energy industry remains under threat until there is bipartisan agreement.”
This country deserves a cleaner, cheaper energy future (PDF; 16kByte)