Media reports today that the Australian Labor Party will adopt an ambitious new target of 50 per cent renewable energy by 2030 is great news for the renewable energy sector and the majority of Australians who believe in the importance of cleaning up and modernising Australia’s energy sector, the Clean Energy Council said.

Clean Energy Council Chief Executive Kane Thornton said that while the recent return to bipartisanship on the Renewable Energy Target (RET) was essential for the industry’s immediate future, shifting to a cleaner energy system required a much longer-term commitment that would underpin billions of dollars’ worth of investment in clean energy.

“The Australian Labor Party must be congratulated for taking such strong leadership and recognising the enormous role that renewable energy can play in Australia’s future, both in terms of dealing with the challenge of climate change and creating economic opportunities,” Mr Thornton said.

“A much longer-term commitment to renewable energy will ensure that projects can continue to attract necessary finance up to and beyond 2020, and that exciting new technologies like large-scale solar, geothermal and ocean energy have the opportunity to contribute to Australia’s energy mix as they become increasing competitive over the next decade.  

“The industry’s track record provides confidence that a target of 50 per cent renewable energy by 2030 is entirely achievable, particularly given the continued growth in the capability and innovation in the sector as it develops over the next five years,” he said.

“Of course an increased commitment to renewable energy needs to be accompanied by a comprehensive energy and climate change policy that can facilitate the retirement of Australia’s ageing coal-fired generation fleet and reform the energy system to support the connection of increasing amounts of renewable energy into the energy network.

“The renewable energy industry looks forward to working with the ALP on the detail of the policy.”

Mr Thornton said that the energy sector made up a substantial portion of Australia’s carbon footprint and that any response to climate change should include long-term economic signals to transform the energy sector.

“The growing international commitment to action on climate change, combined with the strong Australian public support for renewable energy, means long-term commitments to renewable energy makes for smart politics – both domestic and international.
“The Federal Government is currently considering post-2020 climate change commitments in the lead-up to the UNFCCC event in Paris later this year, and delivering such carbon reductions will require a longer-term acceleration of renewable energy and a plan for transforming the energy sector. We look forward to working with the government towards these goals.”

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