The breakdown of bipartisanship on the Renewable Energy Target (RET) as a result of the Federal Government’s ongoing review is stripping existing investments in the sector of between $400 and $500 million a year, according to new analysis by the Clean Energy Council.
The new paper shows the uncertainty caused by the Federal Government’s review of the RET will continue to cause more than $400 million of damage every year to renewable energy projects that are already operating.
Clean Energy Council Chief Executive Kane Thornton said the RET had been very successful in delivering over $10 billion worth of investment in large-scale projects to date.
“These investments were made in good faith based on the bipartisan support for the legislated target continuing to 2030. A breakdown in that bipartisanship has had a material impact on the market confidence in the policy and is affecting the revenue that flows to those projects,” Mr Thornton said.
The briefing paper Lost opportunity and big costs: The impact of an unresolved RET review outlines the consequences if a bipartisan deal cannot be reached on the future of the policy.
Mr Thornton said 2014 had been a ‘dark year’ for the majority of the renewable energy industry, marked by lost opportunity and political uncertainty.
“We are staring down the barrel of job losses, business closures, negative financial effects on the $10 billion of renewable energy projects already operating, and a halt in the development of new large-scale renewable energy projects across the country,” he said.
Investment in new large-scale renewable energy in Australia was approximately $2 billion in 2013, but this has plunged to just $238 million for the first three quarters of this year as the Federal Government’s apparent determination to slash the RET continues to damage the industry.
“If the government is genuine about its intent to resolve the current political impasse, move beyond its previous position and support a target that delivers a strong future for renewable energy in Australia, we would encourage Labor to return to negotiations.
“It is understandably a very nervous time for the 21,000 Australians directly employed by this industry. If we can’t get this resolved by Christmas many of these hard-working people will be wondering whether they will have a job in the new year.
Lost opportunity and big costs: The impact of an unresolved RET review is available from the Clean Energy Council website.
Please contact Clean Energy Council Media Manager Mark Bretherton on 0413 556 981 for more information or to arrange an interview.