Victoria has got what it takes to grow and maintain a thriving renewable energy jobs sector, but government policy roadblocks are standing in its way, a packed forum of locals heard in Portland on Sunday.
Former Australian Liberal party leader, Dr John Hewson, kicked off the Renewable Energy & Jobs Forum. Dr Hewson said governments need to do much more than we’re doing today to address climate change. “There are enormous opportunities from a sensible response to climate change,” Dr Hewson stated, referring to the jobs that can be created by the growing renewable energy sector.
Reports the Abbott government are seeking to “axe” the Renewable Energy Target puts a sharper focus on state government plans for renewable energy. With a Victorian state election on the horizon, voters want to know what plans the major parties have to secure renewable energy jobs and investment.
The Forum, presented by Friends of the Earth’s Yes 2 Renewables project, the Australian Wind Alliance and local businesses, will allow the political parties to set out their plans to secure jobs and investment in the renewable energy sector.
What plans do the major political parties have to secure renewable energy jobs and investment in Victoria?
Now that’s a good question, especially with a state election fast approaching.
To get some answers, Yes 2 Renewables have partnered with our pals the Australian Wind Alliance and Portland community members to present the Renewable Energy & Jobs Forum – 2014. RSVP now to secure your seat > http://tiny.cc/PortlandForum
The renewable energy sector has created jobs and generated millions of dollars worth of investment in south west Victoria since 2000. However, uncertainty clouds the sector’s future.
The letter set out the barriers to renewable energy and jobs in the Geelong and Surf Coast region—namely, the Napthine government’s anti-wind farm laws and absence of a state renewable energy target—and invited South Barwon candidates to be transparent with their position on the issues.
While we’re still waiting for responses from the Labor and Liberal party, our open letter made it all the way into the hands of Victorian Greens leader, Greg Barber, who had the following to say:
Clive Palmer’s surprise climate manoeuvre has sent a shockwave through the Abbott government’s policy agenda. After meeting with former US vice president Al Gore in the Parliament yesterday, Mr Palmer has stated his party’s support for the Renewable Energy Target, the Clean Energy Finance Corporation, and the independent Climate Change Authority.
This changed political landscape gives Prime Minister Tony Abbott a reason to back away from an anti-renewable energy agenda. Originally intended to rationalise cutting the Renewable Energy Target, the Warburton review is now the key to achieving this policy shift.
The Renewable Energy Target is driving a national transition to renewable energy. All available public polling shows Australians endorse this vision, with a recent Climate Institute poll finding 72 per cent support to retain or increase the renewables target.
A weakened Renewable Energy Target threatens peoples’ jobs, health, and aspirations; billions of dollars worth of investment in a vital emerging industry; and importantly, an effective climate change mitigation tool. When we consider these impacts, the lack of public support for cutting the target comes as no surprise.
Over the course of two months, Friends of the Earth undertook a fact-finding RET Road Trip. We travelled over two thousand kilometres to speak with eight communities who have benefitted from renewable energy or have been affected by fossil fuel pollution. We did this to get a real understanding of the impacts of energy policy.
Friends of the Earth call on Premier Denis Napthine to clarify the Victorian government’s position on the Renewable Energy Target.
According to The Age, the Victorian government’s submission to the Warburton Review calls for the Renewable Energy Target to be reduced and for polluting gas power to be included in the scheme.
The Premier seems confused about renewable energy. Victorians understand the difference and want the Premier to support the 41 terrawatt hour Renewable Energy Target.
Wind workers in the Premier’s own electorate have called on Dr Napthine to join Tasmanian Premier Will Hodgman to oppose changes to the 41 Terrawatt hour target.
Wind energy is the cheapest new-build electricity source in Australia, and solar is getting cheaper each year. Gas, on the other hand, will get more expensive over time. Australia can leap frog increasingly expensive fossil fuels by switching straight to renewables.
On Tuesday May 6, Friends of the Earth’s fact-finding RET Review Road Trip visited Ararat in western Victoria.
By all accounts, Ararat is a community that proudly supports the wind energy sector. It is home to Pacific Hydro’s Challicum Hills wind farm which has been operating since 2003. Councillor Gwenda Allgood (recipient of our Renewable Energy Champion award) lauds the company for their exceptional community engagement. Add to this the drought-proof income for farmers who host turbines, and strong local support for wind energy comes as no surprise.