This article originally posted at Clean Technica. View the original post here.
Let’s not kid ourselves — we all saw this coming. Australia’s Prime Minister Tony Abbott has reportedly asked the head of the Renewable Energy Target review to investigate abolishing the RET altogether, a process that has sidelined the Environment Minister Greg Hunt, and left renewable energy companies, fossil-fuel generators, and investor groups warning the government such a decision will ultimately damage Australia’s investment desirability.
The Australian Financial Review reported on Monday that “sources” had informed them that Mr Abbott had asked the head of the review, Dick Warburton, “to do more work on the option of terminating the target altogether”, after Mr Warburton’s review was apparently leaning towards simply scaling back the RET.
These same sources added that the Environment Minister Greg Hunt — who had advocated scaling back the RET as a compromise — “has been sidelined from the process”, leaving Mr Abbott, Treasurer Joe Hockey, and Finance Minister Mathias Cormann pushing for the complete abolishment of the RET.
The AFR added that their government source has confirmed that it is now “more likely” that the RET will be abolished under a so-called “closed to new entrants scenario” in which only existing contracts would be honored. The government is likely to make their decision (which is to say, announce their decision) by the end of August.
Unsurprisingly, this news has not been taken well.
“Slashing the Renewable Energy Target would devastate Australia’s renewable energy sector, send hundreds of companies to the wall and tens of thousands of hard-working Australians onto the employment scrapheap,’’ said Clean Energy Council acting chief executive Kane Thornton.
“Such a move would be reckless, given the government’s own analysis shows slashing the RET would save no money on power bills, yet would devastate billions of dollars of investments made in good faith in renewable energy projects across the country.’’
Another Bull-headed Tony Abbott Plan
Ever since entering office in September of 2013, Tony Abbott has made no bones about his distaste for existing environmental policy implemented by the previous Labor Government. The carbon tax that had been the pinnacle of previous Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s term was first on the cutting block, and after several weeks of political machinations, was finally scrapped in July of this year.
By that point, Mr Abbott had already selected Dick Warburton, former Reserve Bank board member and arguably another climate skeptic, as the head of a committee set to review the Renewable Energy Target. All the while Mr Abbott, Treasurer Joe Hockey, and the majority of the Liberal Government have been claiming that the carbon tax and other renewable energy policies were driving up the cost of electricity for “everyday Australians”.