The Federal Government will achieve the 2020 large-scale renewable energy target (RET) despite the best efforts of the Coalition to undermine its success.
“This is a moment to celebrate. Large-scale renewables have created thousands of jobs and helped make our electricity system cleaner,” said the Climate Council’s Head of Research, Dr Martin Rice.
“Wind and solar are now the lowest cost way to generate electricity in Australia,” he said.
“However, the Energy Minister Angus Taylor can claim no credit for this. He wanted the renewable energy target to be abolished,” said Dr Rice.
The target was introduced in 2001 during John Howard’s prime ministership and was adjusted numerous times. In 2015, under Prime Minister Tony Abbott, the Federal Government wound back the target by 20% (from 41,000 GWh to 33,000 GWh).
“Despite the naysayers, this policy worked and there are now dozens of large-scale renewable energy projects in Australia. Fortunately, the states and territories have led the charge in the absence of Federal Government leadership,” said the Climate Council’s Senior Researcher, Tim Baxter.
“The most important question is what happens post-2020 given the Federal Government won’t extend the target. It seems likely that the renewable electricity industry is now sustainable in Australia without support, but there are serious questions over whether these record levels of growth will continue,” he said.
“The Clean Energy Council says it’s starting to see a slow down in new projects because investors are reluctant to make financial commitments without more certainty. We urgently need a credible climate and energy policy to provide that certainty,” said Mr Baxter.
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