The federal government’s ire towards Australia’s Renewable Energy Target (RET) appears to be seriously out of proportion with public sentiment regarding the incentive scheme, if the results of an Essential Report poll are correct. Of those surveyed, only 13% indicated that they thought the RET target of 20% renewables by the year 2020 was to high, while about 39% thought it was ‘about right’ and 25% thought it was too low. The remaining 23% were unsure.
The poll’s participants were also asked their political affiliation. Interestingly, the percentage of those who believed that the current target is more or less appropriate did not differ much between Lib/Nat voters and Labour voters. Where views diverged more sharply was when it came came to the question of whether the target was too low: 32% of Labour voters thought this was the case, while 15% of Lib/Nat voters thought likewise. Unsurprisingly, 62% of Green Party voters thought the target should be higher.
Of the 13% surveyed who thought the target was too high, the numbers were relatively consistent across party affiliation lines–7% of Labour voters, 10% of Greens voters, and 13% of ‘other’ voters. 21% of Lib/Nat respondents believed it was too ambitious.
Table via EssentialVision.com.au
With regard to the embattled RET, the main takeaway from the survey is that the scheme is not reviled by the Australian population to the degree that the government seems to think that it is–even among the ruling party’s own constituents. The poll results will be more ammunition for Australia’s renewable energy industry in the fight to keep the RET–now the main support system for renewables in the country–more or less intact.
The Essential Report’s poll corroborates the findings of a previous survey by the APVI, which found that Australians are overwhelmingly in favour of distributed energy technologies such as rooftop solar panels and micro wind & hydro systems.
Since even before the RET review began, Australia’s solar industry has been rallying to save the scheme, backing up its support with facts about how well it is performing. Nigel Morris of Solar Business Services and Giles Parkinson of RenewEconomy are among the many who have recently published pieces laying out the case for the RET and dispelling some misconceptions & misinformation that have been floating around about the scheme in the political discourse. The Australian Solar Council has also published a comprehensive infographic detailing the scheme’s benefits (included below).
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