Australia's Renewable Energy Target (RET) has driven large amounts of investment in clean energy over the last decade.
If left unchanged, the RET will continue generating investment over the next decade and beyond, transforming our energy sector and saving households money on their power bills.
So how exactly does the RET benefit Australia?
The RET will save Australian households hundreds of dollars on their electricity bills
Australian households will pay over $50 more for electricity in 2020 if the RET is dumped. Beyond 2020, household bills would increase by up to $140 per year.
This is because fewer renewables mean more gas, which is set to triple in price this decade. Meanwhile, renewable energy will keep getting cheaper as the technology improves and we build more of it.
In total, Australian households will pay $510 million more for power in 2020 if the RET is dumped, and up to $1.4 billion more per year beyond 2020.
Cutting the RET will mean fewer renewables and less competition in the energy market – and as in any market, less competition means higher prices.
Renewable energy will secure billions of dollars of investment in Australian industry
The Renewable Energy Target has already attracted $20 billion in new investment to Australia. A further $14.5 billion of investment in large-scale projects will be generated out to 2020 if the scheme is left unchanged, as well as billions of dollars in household renewable energy systems like solar panels and solar hot water.
If the Renewable Energy Target is scrapped, most of that investment in clean energy just won’t happen.
Renewable energy investment is good news for small towns around Australia that may have missed out on the mining boom or struggled through years of drought.
The Renewable Energy Target creates thousands of Australian jobs
More than 24,000 Australians were employed in the renewable energy sector in 2012, proving that the jobs of the future are here today.
The RET is set to generate 18,400 jobs by 2020 if retained in its current form. That’s 9700 jobs in large-scale renewables like wind and bioenergy and 8700 jobs in household renewable energy such as solar power and solar hot water.
If the RET is dumped, Australia will miss out on the majority of these jobs.
Renewable energy reduces greenhouse gas emissions
By encouraging investment in clean, emissions-free forms of energy generation, the RET is making Australia's energy system far less reliant on emissions-intensive forms of energy like gas and coal.
Scrapping the RET would see 34.7 million extra tonnes of carbon pumped into the atmosphere by 2020.
To meet its target of reducing Australia’s emissions by 5 per cent without the RET, the Federal Government would need to find 34.7 million extra tonnes of emission reductions from other sectors.
Removing the Renewable Energy Target will cost a lot more money than it saves
Removing the Renewable Energy Target would actually increase electricity bills by $50 in 2020. In addition, it would cause the loss of tens of thousands of Australian jobs and billions of dollars of investment.
Abolishing the Renewable Energy Target will also make it harder and more expensive for Australia to meet its international commitment of reducing carbon emissions by five per cent on 2000 levels by 2020.
Australians love renewable energy
Survey after survey over the last decade has shown that more than three-quarters of Australians support renewable energy.
Everyone knows Australia is hot and windy, so as Prime Minister Tony Abbott says, renewable energy makes a lot of sense.