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May 15, 2021

Labor’s deal with Abbott to hurt renewable energy on north coast

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The Abbott-Labor deal to reduce the Renewable Energy Target from 41,000 to 33,000 gigawatt hours per annum by 2020 will mean fewer jobs and less clean energy on the north coast.

Labor has caved into both Tony Abbott and the fossil fuel lobby. This deal means more coal, more pollution and less investment in clean energy.

The north coast region continues to set the standard in renewable energy with some of the highest up-take rates for solar power in NSW and several large scale solar projects in the pipeline, like the 99kw Lismore Community Solar Farm to be constructed at Goonellabah Sports and Aquatic Centre and East Lismore Sewage Treatment Plant.

Many north coast suburbs have more than a quarter of households with rooftop solar. The Greens want to increase the Renewable Energy Target to power Australia with at least 90 per cent renewable energy by 2030. This will give investors the certainty and stability they need to plan.

This cut will harm the future of large scale solar in Australia. Labor has helped Tony Abbott protect the big polluters with a deal for a slower transition to cleaner, cheaper power.

Investment in renewable energy in Australia dived by 88 per cent in 2014 after the government launched its review of the target.

The Australian Solar Council has also criticised the decision to cut the RET, with chief executive John Grimes saying that ‘a deal at 33,000 gigawatt hours won’t deliver any outcomes for big solar in Australia’.

Dawn Walker, The Greens

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  1. I too am disappointed at the reduction in the Renewable Energy Target. I’m also disappointed at this weird take that it is as much Labor’s fault as the Government’s.

    The initial target the Government floated after its RET Review (chaired by climate denier Warburton) was 16,000 GWh, but after the uproar this received they brought a figure of 26,000 GWh to negotiations. Labor initially started at a retention of the 41,000 GWh figure, but realising that the cross-bench Senators who’d voted for repeal of the Carbon Tax the introduction of Direct Action would probably go with the Government again, they couldn’t just stonewall.

    With the support of the Clean Energy Council, which represents the renewable energy industry, they offered a compromise of ‘mid- to high-30,000s’. Eventually this brought the Government up to 32,000 GWh and Labor held out for 33,500 and eventually settled for 33,000 – again with the support of the CEC.

    To describe Labor’s achieving a more than doubling of the proposed target from 16,000 to 33,000 GWh after months of hard negotiation as ‘caving in’ is just wrong, and I think is picking the wrong fight.

    Sniping at those who are essentially on the same side is counterproductive. Labor has been guilty of this too at times. Rudd’s refusal to talk with the Greens when forming the CPRS was stupid and came back to bite him. Julia Gillard fell into the ‘no Carbon Tax’ trap seemingly in an attempt to distance herself from Greens policy and we know how that turned out.

    What is encouraging is when Labor, Greens and Independents actually got together after the 2010 election to nut out comprehensive policy they achieved great things with the Carbon Price, Clean Energy Finance Corporation, ARENA, Biodiversity Fund and the RET.

    Let’s hope the time (hopefully mercifully short) before a change of government can be spent by Greens and Labor actually working on the similarities in policy to have programs ready to run that can repair the damage that this Government is wreaking.

  2. Chris,
    The Clean Energy Council wants to get the target up to 41,000 GWh by 2020. It says so on its website. That target was the original target. So how did it get down to 33,000 GWh when you say this Government is wreaking damage. Therefore there is damage to the Renewable Energy growth and expansion by having it down at 33,000GWh and not at 41,000 GWh. There needs to a push by Labor upward of the figure for this coming election.


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