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Reducing RET 'would be catastrophic'

18th Sep 2012

The Renewable Energy Target (RET) is under review by the Climate Change Authority (CCA) - and various industry experts have been clamouring to prevent dilution of the scheme.

Under the initiative, 20 per cent of Australia's energy will come from sustainable sources by 2020, but there have been calls to reduce this figure or introduce other measures to circumvent it.

However, the Australian Solar Council has claimed the policy is one of the most important government rulings of the last decade and derided suggestions of weakening its potency.

"Given the political uncertainty regarding the carbon price and the Clean Energy Finance Corporation, the abolition of the carbon price floor price and the recent failure to negotiate the Contract for Closure package, the Renewable Energy Target is more important than ever in ensuring the development of a strong clean energy industry and the reduction in Australia's carbon pollution," the organisation stated.

The remarks were made in a submission to the CCA, with the document outlining various benefits the Australian Solar Council feels can be attributed to the RET.

And what are these exactly? Well, the not-for-profit agency stated that more than $20 billion in private investment has been pumped into residences and commercial buildings for sustainable upgrades since it was introduced.

Not only this, but four million individuals now have solar panels or solar hot-water systems installed on their roofs.

With 20,000 people (and rising) working in the industry, the organisation said, it is clear that the RET is good for the economy and the environment.

The council was also quick to slap down any suggestions that solar PV support for residential customers should be withheld because it is now reaching grid parity in many areas of Australia.

"The small-scale Renewable Energy Scheme plays a critical role in reducing the upfront cost of solar and encouraging deployment – which drives down the cost curve," it argued. 

Other measures opposed by the agency included combining large-scale and small-scale renewable energy schemes, as well as lowering the Clearinghouse price.

Diluting the goals set forward by the RET would be the equivalent of scrapping proposals for up to 220 50-megawatt solar PV plants, the organisation claimed.

Final submissions for the CCA review, which is expected to be completed by December, were last Friday (September 14).

A review is planned every two years from 2012, with the renewables industry due to receive support from the RET until 2030.

Posted by Mike Peacock

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