The main effect of a political deal to reduce the Renewable Energy Target to 33,000 gigawatt hours will be increased market share for electricity generated from old and inefficient coal-fired power stations, the Australian Conservation Foundation said today.
“The aim of the RET was to boost clean energy investment in Australia, and it was working perfectly well until the Abbott government started threatening to cut the target,” said ACF’s CEO Kelly O’Shanassy.
“The RET has cut pollution, generated billions of dollars of investment in Australia and created thousands of new jobs, while helping keep energy prices down.
“Unfortunately today’s compromise means by 2020 Australia will be generating 20 per cent less clean energy than we would have if the policy hadn’t been messed around with.
“Both major parties went to the last election with a promise to keep the RET as it was.
“If left alone it would have delivered about 26 per cent of Australia’s energy from clean sources like wind and solar by 2020.
“This is a bad deal. It’s bad for clean energy, climate change, jobs and energy prices.
“The only winners are the big polluting energy companies, because it will increase the market share for electricity generated from their old, inefficient coal-fired power stations.
“Sadly the losers are Australians who want a safe climate.
“Labor should completely reject the suggestion that electricity generated by burning native forests be included in the Renewable Energy Target.
“Burning species rich native forests for electricity depletes the massive carbon stocks safely stored in old trees as well as wrecking wildlife habitat.
“We urge both major parties to look to the future and commit to a strong target that makes sure Australia gets at least 50 per cent of its energy from clean renewable sources like wind and solar by 2030.”