Senate rejects climate change laws: solar credit discounts still on hold

The Senate today rejected the Government’s climate change package, leaving the solar credit legislation in limbo.

Calls have been made by the Australian renewable industry for both major parties to put politics aside and cut the Renewable Energy Target (RET) bill free from the defeated CPRS for immediate passage or risk catastrophic damage to and job losses in Australia’s emerging clean energy industry.

The Rudd Government was elected nearly two years ago promising a 45,000 GWH or 20 per cent renewable energy target (RET) by 2020. Nearly two years later that promise remains unfulfilled.

Clean Energy Council Chief Executive Matthew Warren said this delay is now costing the clean energy industry more than $2 million a week. The price of Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) saw a sharp fall following the Senate’s deferral of the RET bill in June and have stayed low, wiping millions off the value of existing renewable energy projects.

The clean energy industry “is supposed to be gearing up to deliver 20 per cent of Australia’s electricity in 11 years time, Mr Warren said.

œThis is an emerging industry that cannot bear these costs any longer. It is incomprehensible that the frontline response to the decarbonisation of Australia’s energy market is being allowed to atrophy in this fashion.

The RET will unleash around $28 billion of new investment and along with energy efficiency strategies will create more than 28,000 new clean jobs in Australia.

A recent survey by Newspoll commissioned by the CEC found 89 per cent of Australians want more renewable energy and increased government efforts to stimulate investment.

The RET bill needs to pass, and quickly, Mr Warren said. œThe time for political games is over. The bill needs to be amended immediately to de-couple it from the CPRS. This is a simple amendment.

The clean energy industry asks both major parties to put political point scoring aside and support the swift and streamlined passage of an expanded renewable energy target in Australia.”

This is not novel policy. Australia has had a renewable energy target since 2001.

The proposed RET legislation only requires one other simple amendment to deliver the expanded target: the adjustment of the target to account for creation of the multiple RECs under the proposed Solar Credits scheme.

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