America’s clean energy economy created nearly 80,000 green jobs in 2013, benefitting virtually every state across the country even as looming market and policy uncertainty threaten to shrink green growth.
The Abbott government’s RET Review is stalling $1 billion worth of investment and preventing new jobs from coming online.
“Close to $1 billion of renewable energy projects have been put on ice pending the outcome of the government’s Renewable Energy Target review,” reports the Australian Financial Review, “as uncertainties over whether the target will be abolished stalk the industry and investors.”
Australia’s renewable energy sector is in a holding position while it waits for the recommendations of the RET Review panel and the Abbott government’s response.
The worst-case scenario is a scrapping or cutting the renewables target. According to research by energy market analyst Intelligent Energy Systems Advisory, scrapping the Renewable Energy Target would kill off $10 billion of investment in the energy sector. This outcome would cost over 4,000 jobs.
Meridian Energy Australia’s previously delayed Mount Mercer Wind Farm in Victoria nears completion as the forthcoming Renewable Energy Target (RET) review cools industry confidence.
64 wind turbines with a collective capacity of 131 megawatts will be added to the National Electricity Market by midyear thanks to Meridian’s $260 million dollar investment outside of Elaine, Victoria.
The project will result in carbon dioxide emissions reductions of more than 400,000 tonnes per annum, and once complete, according to The Courier, “will generate enough renewable energy to power almost 100,000 homes – or the whole of Ballarat”.
Thus far the development has created more than 250 temporary jobs since construction began in 2012, and will produce a further 20 permanent maintenance positions for the life of the farm. But whether or not such benefits will be able to spread elsewhere relies for now on the outcome of July’s 2014 RET review and any doubts it might seed. Continue reading “RET Watch: Mt Mercer a RET success but future developments suffer”
The debate about the future of Australia’s Renewable Energy Target (RET) has largely focused on the issue of immediate costs to business. But if we’re thinking about Australia’s long-term economic interests, there are a number of reasons why leaving the target as it is makes good business sense.
Instead of trying to reduce power bills by undercutting investment and jobs in one growing industry, there are other ways for big and small businesses to cut their power bills – starting with the cost savings available from using energy more efficiently.