The legislation for a bipartisan deal on the Renewable Energy Target (RET) has passed through the Australian Parliament tonight, opening the way for Australia to now unlock the massive potential for renewable energy investment and jobs over the next decade.

Clean Energy Council Chief Executive Kane Thornton said the return to bipartisanship was the critical factor that would allow investment to resume and for major renewable energy projects to move forward.

“While this has been a challenging process, and we are disappointed by the level of reduction of the target for large-scale renewable energy, the passage of this legislation provides the platform for a doubling of renewables over the next five years,” Mr Thornton said.

“The legislation also removes the two-yearly reviews of the scheme and ensures no changes to the Small-scale Renewable Energy Scheme, which is great news for thousands of people working in the rooftop solar and solar hot water sectors.  

“We have fought hard for a resolution of this review over the last 18 months and are confident this will see a return to work for our industry, with between 30-50 major renewable energy projects and hundreds of medium-sized projects to be built over the next five years.

“This legislation will lead to more than $40 billion of investment and the creation of 15,200 jobs over the life of the RET. Importantly it will also protect the livelihoods of the 20,000 Australians directly employed by the renewable energy industry, whose jobs have been under a cloud for the last 18 months,” he said.

Mr Thornton said the final bipartisan deal was only possible due to a huge effort by the industry’s supporters in the Federal Government, the federal Labor Party, the Greens and key cross-bench senators.

The final negotiation to secure passage of this deal through the Senate involved a Government commitment to a range of initiatives and measures relating to the regulation of the wind sector and promotion of the solar sector.

“We are disappointed about moves to introduce further red tape on the wind sector, given the stringent and robust regulatory framework already in place for wind energy in Australia. The industry will however work closely with the government to ensure these measures genuinely improve the regulatory framework and are developed based on credible scientific research by independent expert bodies,” Mr Thornton said.

“This commitment also includes a range of welcome initiatives to further support and promote solar power in Australia, and we look forward to working with government on these initiatives.

“The renewable energy industry is now looking forward to exceeding expectations and realising the huge potential of this industry over the next five years. Australians overwhelmingly want more renewable energy, and the Australian renewable energy industry is now ready to start delivering that.”  

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