Federal Parliament have passed legislation to cut the Renewable Energy Target (RET) from the original 41,000 gigawatt hour target to 33,000. The bipartisan deal will involve trade-exposed industries being exempt from the target and two-yearly reviews of the scheme will also be removed.
The legislation passed with 41 votes to 14 following many months of negotiation.
According to Clean Energy Council Chief Executive, Kane Thornton, the return to bipartisanship was the critical factor that would allow investment to resume and for major renewable energy projects to move forward.
“While this has been a challenging process, and we are disappointed by the level of reduction of the target for large-scale renewable energy, the passage of this legislation provides the platform for a doubling of renewables over the next five years,” Mr Thornton said.
“The legislation also removes the two-yearly reviews of the scheme and ensures no changes to the Small-scale Renewable Energy Scheme, which is great news for thousands of people working in the rooftop solar and solar hot water sectors.
“We have fought hard for a resolution of this review over the last 18 months and are confident this will see a return to work for our industry, with between 30-50 major renewable energy projects and hundreds of medium-sized projects to be built over the next five years.
“This legislation will lead to more than $40 billion of investment and the creation of 15,200 jobs over the life of the RET. Importantly it will also protect the livelihoods of the 20,000 Australians directly employed by the renewable energy industry, whose jobs have been under a cloud for the last 18 months,” he said.
However, according to Tasmanian Greens Senator, Peter Whish-Wilson, the RET reduction will greatly harm the Renewable Energy Industry .
“The Liberals have done a deal to cut the overall Renewable Energy Target. The Liberals have also done side-deals with the cross-bench to include the burning of native forest biomass within the target and to place ridiculous restrictions on the development of wind energy.
“This trifecta of blows to the renewable energy sector will hit especially hard in Tasmania, Australia’s renewable energy capital,” said Whish-Wilson.