Slashing the Renewable Energy Target (RET) would devastate Australia’s renewable energy sector, send hundreds of companies to the wall and tens of thousands of hard-working Australians onto the employment scrapheap, the Clean Energy Council said today.

Clean Energy Council Acting Chief Executive Kane Thornton said a media report today that the Prime Minister was considering abolishing the policy had sent shockwaves through the renewable energy industry.

“Such a move would be reckless, given the government’s own analysis shows slashing the RET would save no money on power bills, yet would devastate billions of dollars of investments made in good faith in renewable energy projects across the country,” Mr Thornton said.

“It would also be out of touch with the vast majority of Australians who want more renewable energy, as demonstrated by the fact that 99 per cent of the 24,000 submissions to the review of the policy called for it to be maintained or increased –- and the fact that over 4 million Australians already live or work under a solar power system. Australians clearly want to follow the rest of the world in increasing the use of renewable energy.

“Hundreds of Australian and international investors have built their businesses based on the strong bipartisanship of this policy which has existed in legislation since 2001. Tearing up this bipartisanship, and the policy itself, would show that the Australian energy sector is clearly not open for business – it would stop industry dead and smash investments that have already been made.

“The Australian renewable energy industry has invested over $20 billion and currently employs over 20,000 people based on the legislated RET,” he said.

Mr Thornton said slashing the policy would be a clear broken election promise, given the government’s long-standing commitment to the policy and its stated support for it before and after the last Federal Election.

“The sorts of changes that were reported today would devastate the renewable energy industry,” he said.

“Thankfully the value of the policy has been recognised by all other major political parties and many of the cross-bench senators who have stated their support for the continuation of the RET.

“The renewable energy industry urges the Abbott Government to carefully consider the full benefits of the RET, and the damage that would be caused if the scheme was to be slashed, before making a final decision.”

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