Hobart, Wednesday 27 January 2010

The Greens will move to ensure a flourishing Australian renewable energy sector by fixing the Rudd Government’s flawed Renewable Energy Target with a Private Member’s Bill when Parliament resumes next month.

“The extraordinary potential to power Australia from the sun, wind, ocean and earth is being undermined by badly designed Rudd Government policy,” Australian Greens Deputy Leader, Senator Christine Milne said.

“It’s not just the Rudd Government’s climate credibility on the line here, but hundreds of jobs could be lost if the Renewable Energy Target is not urgently fixed.

“We can fix this problem so easily and I challenge Mr Rudd and Senator Wong to look at our proposal and work with us to make sure the renewables sector survives and flourishes.”

The Greens repeatedly warned that including solar hot water, heat pumps and multiplied rooftop solar credits in the renewable energy target would crash the price of renewable energy certificates (RECs), stopping commercial-scale renewable energy developments from getting off the ground. This would not have come to pass if Greens amendments moved at the time had been accepted.

“It was obvious in the design of the scheme that this would happen, but both the government and opposition refused to heed the warnings and rejected Greens amendments that would have prevented it,” Senator Milne said.

“Victoria’s Energy Minister, Peter Batchelor, and Senator Nick Minchin, as well as renewable energy industry representatives, have all highlighted this problem.

“This is typical of Mr Rudd and Senator Wong’s spin-over-substance approach to climate and clean energy.”

Senator Milne’s Private Member’s Bill would add RECs from solar hot water, heat pumps and the solar multiplier to the top of the target. This would ensure that the technologies are supported but do not crowd out large-scale renewable energy.

“This is not the perfect policy, but it is an achievable way to fix this problem quickly.

“Ideally, the Greens would like to see an energy efficiency target and a gross feed-in tariff running alongside the renewable energy target, supporting solar water heating, rooftop solar and much more. That would be the best way to drive a boom in zero emissions energy.

“The proposal to add these credits to the top of the target would effectively lift Australia’s renewable energy target, and that can only be a good thing.

“What this debacle has shown is that the 20% target massively undersold Australia’s renewable energy potential. We can and must aim far higher.”
RET Fix Private Members Bill release 270110.pdf

Senator Christine Milne