The Clean Energy Council has called for an end to ongoing reviews of the Renewable Energy Target (RET) and for the removal of future legislated reviews, after the third review of the policy in two years was announced today.
Clean Energy Council Acting Chief Executive Kane Thornton said the Australian renewable energy industry was at a standstill due to the constant reviews of the policy, with investment in 2014 approximately 70 per cent lower than the year before.
“As an increasingly competitive industry we are happy to be critically reviewed, but this is getting ridiculous. The third review in two years is now underway,” Mr Thornton said.
“Under the current legislation, the Climate Change Authority is required to complete a review of the RET by the end of the year. This is even though the special review of the policy led by former Caltex Chair Dick Warburton has only just been finalised and the government is commencing negotiations on its future position.
“This situation is having a negative impact on investment and jobs in the renewable energy sector. The RET is designed to leverage investment, and this simply can’t happen when there is the constant threat of the goal posts being moved. While the Climate Change Authority has acknowledged the importance of a stable policy to attract investment and is bound by the requirements of the legislation, another review at this time is farcical.
“The industry did not ask for these reviews and we have consistently called for them to be taken out of the legislation,” he said.
Mr Thornton said the year had been incredibly challenging for the renewable energy industry, as the uncertainty created by the Federal Government’s review of the RET had led to job losses and businesses writing down asset values and going into administration.
“No business should be expected to operate under the constant cloud of uncertainty that our industry has endured. We are seeing major international investors turn their backs on Australia in favour of more receptive investment environments elsewhere,” he said.
“Prime Minister Tony Abbott says Australia is open for business. But the massive investment opportunities in the renewable energy sector are going begging due to the lack of long-term policy stability.
“The RET has the potential to unlock $14.5 billion of investment in large-scale renewable energy generation and tens of thousands of jobs if we can stop the reviews and let the sector get on with business.”
Please contact Mark Bretherton at the Clean Energy Council on 0413 556 981 for more information or to arrange an interview.