Oct 22, 2014 - Australia’s clean energy industry and the opposition Labor party have turned down the ruling party’s just-announced proposal to trim the Renewable Energy Target (RET) to a "real" 20% of demand, or around 26,000-27,000 GWh.
The proposal was attacked by the industry on fears that it would kill two-thirds of required large-scale investment in the sector, the Guardian said Wednesday, citing the Clean Energy Council’s acting CEO, Kane Thornton. The Labour Party has dubbed the proposal as a "job-killing phoney offer", according to the report.
Along with condemning large-scale investment, the Abbot government's offer called for exempting all energy-intensive industries from the renewables goal but keeping support for rooftop solar plants unchanged.
Negotiations on the RET review between Labor and the ruling coalition start today.
Australia aims to source 20% of its total power from renewables by 2020 under the RET. When the target was set, that percentage was calculated to be equal to 41,000 GWh annually. Due to declining power demand, however, more up-to-date estimates say the real 20% would require as little as 25,000 GWh of renewable electricity per year, according to estimates.
The ruling party previously considered scaling back the RET to 16,000 GWh. In February it appointed global warming skeptic Dick Warburton to review the Large-scale Renewable Energy Target (LRET) and the Small-scale Renewable Energy Scheme (SRES). The review panel’s report, published in August, calls for the close of the LRET scheme to new entrants or the adjustment of the 20% goal, among other recommendations that are seen hurting the sector. It also proposed a plan under which the SRES, available for rooftop solar of up to 100 kW and solar thermal schemes, is immediately terminated or quickly scaled back by 2020 at the latest, rather than 2030.
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