Reports today that the Federal Government is seeking the resumption of negotiations with Labor on the Renewable Energy Target (RET) and is willing to negotiate on its previous position is good news for the renewable energy sector, the Clean Energy Council said.

Clean Energy Council Acting Chief Executive Kane Thornton said the government’s indication that it is prepared to move beyond its original negotiating position was welcome and essential to achieving an outcome that ensured a future for renewable energy in Australia.

“The only way the current investment freeze in the renewable energy industry will begin to thaw is through a negotiated agreement between the two major parties that would return the bipartisan support to the policy,” Mr Thornton said.

“Given what’s at stake, the renewable energy industry expects both parties to return to negotiate in good faith. This would give us reason for cautious optimism heading in to the end of the parliamentary sittings for 2014 and the Christmas season.”

Mr Thornton said investment this year was down more than 70 per cent compared to 2013, due to the political uncertainty created by multiple reviews and the government’s previous proposal to slash a policy that it committed to before the last election.

“The Renewable Energy Target has had the support of both major parties for more than a decade, since it was first introduced by the Howard Government in 2001,” he said.

“Analysis for the Warburton Review of the RET showed that any reduction of the level of the target would increase power prices for consumers in the future. This is because it would reduce competition in the energy market and increase the reliance on gas-fired power, which has already increased rapidly in price this decade. The Warburton Review also revealed that the policy was working effectively and that the current target is achievable.

“We look forward to working with all major parties towards a positive outcome for the RET on behalf of 21,000 renewable energy workers and hundreds of businesses whose future remains very uncertain.”

Please contact Clean Energy Council Media Manager Mark Bretherton on 0413 556 981 for more information or to arrange an interview.