Bipartisan RET deal to restore investment and jobs
18 May 2015
Infigen Energy has welcomed the announcement by Ministers Ian Macfarlane and Greg Hunt that a compromise position in relation to the Renewable Energy Target (RET) legislation has been agreed with Shadow Minister Mark Butler. This agreement restores the bipartisan support for the RET scheme that has existed since the scheme was introduced by the Howard Government in 2001. Infigen Energy congratulates both the Government and the Opposition for reaching this compromise agreement.
This announcement is now expected to lead to a legislated resolution of the stalemate that has effectively prevented all investment in large scale renewable energy for the past 18 months. This resolution will enable the renewable energy industry to get back to investing in new clean energy infrastructure to meet the targets, and revive the transition of Australia’s electricity generation industry to a more sustainable future.
It is regrettable that the currently legislated 41,000 GWh target is not being maintained and that the burning of native forest ‘wood waste’, not from sustainably managed forests, may qualify for the RET scheme. However, the bipartisan agreement for the revised target of 33,000 GWh still requires an 80% increase in renewable energy generation from this year’s target of 18,000 GWh.
A Better Deal for Households, Businesses
“We are pleased that the Government has recognised the significant economic and environmental benefits that renewable energy brings to the Australian economy, businesses and households. We also recognise the hard work of many Liberal and Labor MPs in reaching this bipartisan position,” said Miles George, Infigen Energy’s Managing Director.
“Legislative certainty is the key component of an efficient and effective RET scheme. This certainty makes it necessary for liable parties to assess their future legal liabilities and to take appropriate action to meet those liabilities through contracting arrangements or direct investments in renewable energy generation. Legislative certainty has underpinned the substantial growth of the clean energy industry to date and should now do so into the future”.
Investment conditions improved
Infigen Energy expects this announcement will result in the restoration of large scale renewable energy investment, starting now and continuing out through 2020. Renewable energy will have a key role to play in helping achieve Australia’s commitments to its carbon emission reduction targets, and to reduce Australia’s dependence on highly polluting coal-fired generation from old and inefficient power stations.
It is also very important that the Government has agreed to eliminate the currently legislated two-yearly reviews. “Investors need legislative certainty when committing capital, and the restoration of bipartisan support and removal of biennial reviews will achieve that,” Mr George said.
Sufficient renewable energy projects have already been identified to comfortably meet the new targets, with over 6,000 MW of large scale renewable projects already holding planning approvals. In addition, there are many renewable energy development projects progressing through the planning approval process. There are more than enough existing renewable energy projects to achieve the target.