Australians have yet again shown their strong public support for renewable energy, with more than 99 per cent of the submissions to the review of the Renewable Energy Target (RET) in favour of the policy, the Clean Energy Council said today.

Clean Energy Council Acting Chief Executive Kane Thornton said more than 24,000 submissions were received during the consultation process, and only 56 of these called for a reduction in the target.

“The Australian public has again shown its overwhelming support for renewable energy through this review, in addition to the fact that over 4 million Australians already live or work under a solar power system,” Mr Thornton said.

“Any proposal to slash the RET would therefore be out of touch with 99 per cent of the community, particularly when the review’s own economic modelling shows that slashing the RET would result in no savings on power bills.

“Since the RET commenced in 2001, the public support for renewable energy has remained strong, and this is clearly evident today. The Australian people know that renewable energy makes sense,” he said.

Mr Thornton said if the RET was slashed, Australia could lose over $20 billion in investment while many people working in renewable energy in regional areas would lose their jobs.

“Power bills will actually increase in the future, due to the rapidly rising cost of generating electricity from gas. Clearly this isn’t what the public wants,” he said.

The RET review attracted 23,272 positive submissions from the community, along with another 865 more detailed submissions which have been uploaded to the review website. Of these, 754 were supportive of the policy being maintained or increased, 55 were mixed or neutral, and only 56 called for the target to be reduced or abolished.

Mr Thornton said as well as many international investors and businesses which wrote about the economic opportunities provided by the RET, there were many supportive submissions from solar workers, wind farm landholders, industry contractors and members of the public.

Mark Cavanagh, Manager of MC Solar said: “If the RET is abolished I will close my doors, and my remaining eight staff (two of them are over 50) will be unemployed. I urge you to consider the impact abolishing the RET will have to small businesses who are doing great things for our country.

Vestas employee Kym Dodd said in a submission: “I have seen first-hand the economic benefit these projects have had in regional areas and continue to have. Many of these areas have had little if any other projects or development in recent times.”

Rob Tozer, an employee of Keppel Prince Engineering, said: “Renewable energy employs real people in real communities. Failure to support it will result in terminations and possibly have a significant compounding effect on the community.”

And according to Macarthur Wind Farm landholder Hamish Officer: “From my family’s point of view the wind farm has allowed us to expand our business and inevitably the money that we make from hosting the wind farm gets spent and invested largely in the local area.”

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