FEDERAL MP Warren Entsch has welcomed the bipartisan deal on the Renewable Energy Target, saying it will provide certainty for the renewables sector and kick-start much-needed investment.
After months of negotiations, the Coalition and Labor have agreed to lower the RET from 41,000 gigawatt hours to 33,000, to fully exempt trade-exposed industries from the target and to scrap the proposed two-yearly reviews.
“The feedback I’ve had from the industry today is that they’re very pleased with this result,” Mr Entsch said.
“In the party room last week I raised my concerns about the delays in resolving this issue and I urged the relevant ministers to work to get a consensus.
“My argument was that two-yearly reviews were just too short a time period. Irrespective of where you stand on the renewable energy debate, all it was going to do was create further uncertainty. I’m pleased that they have obviously agreed with that scenario.
“Now, projects such as the Mt Emerald Wind Farm and the Solar Farm at Lakeland Downs can progress, safe in the knowledge that the Federal Government recognises that areas such as ours put particular value on alternative energy sources.”
The renewable energy industry now has to meet a target which will require them to build more renewable energy generation in the next five years than they've built in the last 15.
“This means there are huge opportunities for the renewables sector in the future, and it aligns very well with our focus on developing Northern Australia,” Mr Entsch said.
“One of our recommendations in the Pivot North report was for the Australian Government to ‘promote the use of renewable energy sources as a solution to the remoteness and isolation from the grid of many homesteads and communities in Northern Australia’, so that box has now effectively been ticked.”
Instead of the biennial reviews, the Clean Energy Regulator will provide an annual statement to Parliament on progress towards the target, the impact it is having on electricity prices, and whether the scheme is at risk of default.
The original target set by the Coalition and Labor was to ensure that 20 per cent of Australia's energy comes from renewable sources by 2020 which, at the time, equated to 41,000 gigawatt hours.
The 20 per cent target will still be reached – likely exceeded – under the new deal, which is effectively a RET of 23.5 per cent.