The recommendations from the review of Australia's Renewable Energy Target (RET), released today, would decimate the industry, resulting in massive financial damage to over $10 billion worth of investments already made and putting 21,000 jobs at risk, the Clean Energy Council said.
Clean Energy Council Acting Chief Executive Kane Thornton said that the recommendations proposed by the review could bankrupt the industry and put thousands of workers out of a job, while terminating competition and innovation in the Australian energy sector.
"It is inconceivable that the review could objectively recommend slashing the RET when its own economic modelling showed this would lead to higher power bills in the long run, while at the same time smashing billions of dollars of investment," Mr Thornton said.
"The review panel has clearly misunderstood the devastating effect of many of its recommendations. It is particularly naive to suggest that slashing the target would not have a massive impact on businesses that have invested on the basis of a legislated policy scheduled to operate out to 2030, and with over a decade of bipartisan support to date."
The report from the review panel led by Dick Warburton was released today, recommending several scenarios each for large-scale renewable energy such as solar and wind farms, and household systems such as solar power and solar hot water. Each of these options would be devastating for the industry and would trigger significant job losses.
New research from Bloomberg New Energy Finance shows closing down the policy would result in the destruction of billions of dollars invested in Australia’s electricity sector, with significant write-downs and potential bankruptcies.
"These recommendations would create a major sovereign risk issue, sending a very clear signal to international investors and financial markets that Australia’s energy sector is not open for business," Mr Thornton said.
"The review has clearly ignored the vast majority of the 24,000 submissions to the review process, 99 per cent of which called for Australia's renewables target to be maintained or increased.
"On top of that, slashing support for solar would make it harder for Australian households and businesses to install the technology as a way to protect themselves from higher power bills. This would result in the immediate and significant damage to the solar sector and the loss of up to 5800 jobs."
Mr Thornton said the only winners from winding back the Renewable Energy Target would be a handful of old coal power plants which were decades past their retirement date.
"These recommendations would stop renewable energy in its tracks, stifling competition within the Australian energy market and ultimately disadvantaging electricity customers," he said.
"If the Abbott Government were to adopt these recommendations, it would take Australia backwards in the global renewable energy race now being contested by over 144 countries with increasingly ambitious targets."
Please contact Clean Energy Council Media Manager Mark Bretherton on 0413 556 981 for more information or to arrange an interview.