Greens secure Rudd government backflip to save renewable energy target
Canberra, Friday 26 February 2010
After months of claiming there was no problem with the Renewable Energy
Target, Ministers Wong and Combet have today announced a major backflip
that appears to adopt significant elements of the Greens’ Private
Member’s Bill introduced yesterday.
However, with details still to be clarified, important questions remain
to be answered as to how this will operate into the future.
“Workers on the Musselroe wind farm in Tasmania, at Keppel Prince in
Portland and thousands of other Australians employed building and
running renewable energy power stations can now breathe a sigh of relief
that their jobs are secure,” Australian Greens Deputy Leader, Senator
Christine Milne said.
“While the devil may well be in the detail, it looks very much like the
government has adopted the approach in the Private Member’s Bill I
introduced yesterday, putting solar hot water and rooftop solar into a
separate stream of the target.
“I am so pleased that the Greens have been able to deliver for the
renewable energy industry, after months of government denials that there
was a problem with their scheme.”
The Greens and industry had repeatedly warned since August last year
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 industrial-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
“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
“What this debacle has shown is that the 20% target massively undersold
Australia’s renewable energy potential. We can and must aim far higher,
ultimately heading for a 100% renewable energy grid as soon as
Questions remain, however, about the yet-to-be-released detail of the
“It would not be a positive outcome if these changes save the wind
industry but damage the solar industry in the process.
“Whilst the fixed price removes some uncertainty for solar investors, we
need to know what long-term certainty the government will offer the
industry, given that the solar multiplier will phase out over the coming
few years and uncertainty remains over state programs.
“The Greens will still be strongly advocating much better long-term
solutions – a gross national feed-in for all forms of renewable energy
and a parallel energy efficiency scheme to really get behind sensible
roll-outs of solar hot water, insulation and more.”
Senator Christine Milne | Australian Greens Deputy Leader and Climate
Suite SG-112 Parliament House, Canberra ACT | P: 02 6277 3588 | M: 0437