The in-principle support shown for the Renewable Energy Target by the Victorian Government is welcome, but industry is concerned that wider changes suggested in the government’s submission to the current review of the policy would just add to investment uncertainty, the Clean Energy Council said today.

Clean Energy Council Deputy Chief Executive Kane Thornton said it was good to see the Victorian Government join the governments of New South Wales, South Australia and Tasmania in backing the Renewable Energy Target.

“Premier Denis Napthine clearly recognises the benefits that renewable energy can deliver in generating local jobs and investment. However, as the name implies, the Renewable Energy Target is designed to support renewable energy technologies - not gas,” he said.

Mr Thornton said forcing more gas to be used to generate electricity would simply drive up the cost of energy for Australian industry and households who were already struggling to make ends meet – particularly in Victoria where gas use is widespread among households.  
“We saw the impact of these higher gas prices in Queensland just last week when the Queensland Competition Authority announced that the impact of gas on wholesale power prices was one of the biggest drivers of power bill increases in the state,” he said.

“Including gas or other non-renewable technologies in the policy just as energy users brace for a projected tripling of gas prices would be a fundamental change to the Renewable Energy Target that could undermine investment confidence and potentially risk the more than $10 billion in large-scale renewable energy already invested behind the current scheme.

“Just six years of project development effectively remain under the Renewable Energy Target. Now is not the time for a fundamental shake-up,” he said.

The Australian Industry Group believes the rising cost of gas may be the defining energy challenge of this decade as domestic users are exposed to much higher international gas prices.

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