Industry reacts to Australian renewables target threat

AUSTRALIA: Wind power developers, manufacturers and industry bodies have reacted to the potential abolition of the Renewable Energy Target (RET) to new companies, calling the move "reckless".

Reports suggest Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott wants to end the RET
Reports suggest Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott wants to end the RET

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Media reports in Australia suggest Prime Minister Tony Abbott's government could be set to announce the end of the RET, with only existing contracts being honoured.

The Australian Financial Review newspaper said Prime Minister Abbott has reportedly asked a review into the scheme to strongly consider the option of ending the RET altogether.

In response, the industry has hit back at the reports. Turbine manufacturer Senvion has urged the Government "not to pull the plug on renewables".

Senvion Australia CEO Chris Judd said: "The whole point of the RET was to drive Australia's transition to a less polluting energy market over a long period of time – so the transition was smooth and without any shocks.

"Any change to that position – which the coalition went to the polls on in 2013 – would be pulling the rug out from under business."

Australian industry body, the Clean Energy Council, said removing the RET "would devastate" the country's renewable sector. Acting chief executive Kane Thornton said: "Such a move would be reckless, given the government's own analysis shows slashing the RET would save no money on power bills."

Thornton added: "It would also be out of touch with the vast majority of Australians who want more renewable energy, as demonstrated by the fact that 99% of the 24,000 submissions to the review of the policy called for it to be maintained or increased."

Miles George, managing director of wind farm developer Infigen Energy, which has installed 556.6MW across Australia, said: "The reported intentions of Mr Abbott amount to economic vandalism, pandering to the climate sceptic minority and represents a total misread of community aspirations."

The RET is a subsidy scheme with a target for large-scale renewables to produce 41,000GWh by 2020. Under the RET, power stations earn renewable energy certificates for every megawatt hour of power they produce. The certificates are bought by electricity retailers who then sell the power to the consumers. The revenue earned by the power station for the sale of the certificate is added to the revenue from the electricity generated.

In July, the Government won a vote in Parliament to repeal a tax on carbon emissions.

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