Under the new deal, the RET – which was a bipartisan commitment of five per cent clean energy by 2020 – will be cut from 41,000 gigawatt hours to 33,000 gigawatt hours which equates to about 24 per cent of wind power and solar energy by the end of the decade.
After more than a year of stalled negotiations the government and labor finally reached a deal on the Renewable Energy Target (RET).
They reached agreement after the Abbott government dropped its plans for two yearly reviews of the target. The deal will help end ongoing uncertainty about investing in wind and solar projects.
The Clean Energy Regulator will now make regular reports to parliament on how the scheme is operating. There will also be no change to the small-scale roof-top solar scheme and significant relief for emissions-intensive and trade-exposed industries.
Clean Energy Council chief executive Kane Thornton said bipartisan support was needed to bring investors back into the renewables sector.
“This development is a huge weight off the shoulders of the 20,000 people working in the industry and it will help to unlock Australia’s massive renewable energy potential,” Thorton said.
Despite the deal, the Australian Solar Council (ACS) today warned that the fight is not yet over.
ACS CEO John Grimes said industry campaigning will continue because the government cannot be trusted when it comes to renewable energy policy.
Grimes said reducing the target to 33,000Gwh was an “act of political bastardry”.
“This government is the most radically anti-solar government in the world today,” Grimes said.
“We will continue a pointed political campaign that will cost them at the next election.”
At the same time, Grimes said industry will lobby Labor to accept a policy of 50 per cent renewables by 2030.
He said the solar industry was looking for the opposition to agree to a change of policy at its national conference in July.