The Abbott government has recently started a review into the Renewable Energy Target with a view to lowering it or even abolishing it altogether – we can assume this both from its general direction on Energy policy, and from the three people it has chosen to conduct this review.
Given the great opportunities for the expansion of Renewable Energy in the Albury Wodonga area, and the necessity to provide incentives for the growth of the sector nationwide for multiple reasons, WATCH has written to its two local representatives in the Federal Government asking them to make representations to the Government for the maintenance or increase of the RET.
Below is the letter sent to Cathy McGowan, member for Indi. ( the same was sent to Sussan Ley, member for Farrar)
Dear Ms McGowan
Re: Review of Renewable energy Target (RET)
You will be aware from previous discussions that there is much local and national support for renewable energy. Support for large-scale solar across Australia is strong (refer “12,000 Voices” report) with support for renewables from Albury-Wodonga residents as high as, if not higher than, the rest of the country. Ninety-four percent of the 400 people surveyed in the Albury-Wodonga region answered “Yes” to the question “Should government implement strong policy to support renewable energy?”
Wodonga Albury Towards Climate Health (WATCH) is concerned that the RET may be revised downwards or at best kept to the minimum target stated. Our concerns are as follows:
JOBS AND INVESTMENT: The Renewable Energy Target has already attracted $18.5 billion in new investment to Australia. There is potential for another $18.7 billion more if the government leaves the scheme as is. This could create another 30,000 new jobs, something that is much needed with the impending closure of our automotive manufacturing industries. Many of these jobs could easily be located in regional and rural areas i.e. to the benefit of Indi constituents.
COMPARATIVE COST OF RET: On average the RET costs a household $1 a week. In comparison, spending on network poles and wires costs families around $20 a week. In order to reduce costs for consumers it would be more prudent to look at the major cost areas, not the relatively minor RET.
RET PANEL BIAS: The RET review panel is made up of representatives who are embedded in the traditional fossil-fuel economy. The leader of the panel, Dick Warburton, is a self confessed sceptic. There is a real need to ensure the Panel is balanced with representative opinion from across the Australian community, including those who want more renewables.
WORLD STANDARDS OF BEST PRACTICE: Domestic policies to encourage renewable energy investment can now be found in over 130 countries around the world. Australia’s current policy is consistent with world’s best practice. It is working well and gives us a positive reputation on the international stage as well as encouraging the vital transition to a sustainable energy supply.
We would appreciate it if you could pass on our concerns to the Government and advocate for a strengthened RET.
Lauriston Muirhead, on behalf of WATCH.