Is a Labor compromise on reduction of the Renewable Energy Target acceptable?

Big Energy hates the Renewable Energy Target because it is seeing renewables take a growing slice of their shrinking pie. Yes2Renewables activist Ben Courtice explains.

We keep hearing news of ongoing negotiations (or almost negotiations) between the Federal Coalition and Labor over a compromise agreement on reducing the Renewable Energy Target. What’s at stake?

Currently, the latest offer from the Coalition is to reduce the target (from 41,000 gigawatt-hours of renewable energy by 2020), to 31,000 gigawatt-hours (they had previously said 26,000 would be their preferred figure).

Labor, who have said they will take direction from the renewable energy industry, are so far holding out for a figure in “the mid to high 30s”, supported by the Clean Energy Council until they caved and made a more desperate sounding offer of 33,500 (rejected by the Coalition, regardless).

Bill Shorten and Mark Butler (image: ABC)
Bill Shorten and Mark Butler (image: ABC)

The ongoing uncertainty over the future of the target means that there is pretty much zero investment happening, banks won’t loan money for renewable projects, because no-one knows what the future will bring.

Unfortunately, if Labor do negotiate a reduced target with the Coalition, we could be in the position where a significant reduction in the target will be painted as a victory by many in the industry — because it gets the finance and construction of projects happening in the short term.

This is despite the fact that the existing, 41,000 gigawatt-hour target could still be met by new wind farms before 2020, with no reduction needed. Continue reading “Is a Labor compromise on reduction of the Renewable Energy Target acceptable?”