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Australian renewables legislation falls short

The draft Australian renewable energy target legislation falls short on election promises, says the Australian Clean Energy Council (CEC).

It calls on the Rudd Government to make small but important adjustments to the design of its draft renewable energy target (RET) legislation if it wants to honour its election commitment of delivering 20% of Australia’s electricity from renewable sources by 2020.

In its submission on the draft RET legislation, CEC has highlighted the detailed repairs needed to achieve the target and stimulate more than AU$20 billion of investment in Australia’s emerging clean energy industry.

CEC Chief Executive Matthew Warren says the Government is to be congratulated on finally delivering its RET legislation as a key complementary measure in its climate change strategy.

“Now we’ve just got to get the details right. The legislation as currently drafted will create a boom-bust cycle for the industry, undermining long-term industry development and the capacity for Australia to be a leader in developing a world class industry and exporting exciting new technologies,” Warren says.

Falling short

CEC has analysed the Government proposal in detail and has identified a key flaw in the design of the proposed trajectory that will effectively stall investment in clean energy generation after 2014.

Economic modelling recently commissioned by the CEC found the Government’s proposed draft RET legislation will only reach 15%, well short of the Government's promised 20% target by 2020.

“This flaw will become an impossible hurdle to many of the exciting and emerging new generation technologies like geothermal, solar thermal and ocean energy and undermine the Government’s election promise before the legislation is even enacted,” Warren says. “It is imperative that we get RET design right to deliver immediate action on climate change in Australia and leave no stone unturned in discovering the lowest cost way of transitioning to a low carbon energy future.”

The Council accepts the use of a multiplier as an interim step to developing Australia’s PV industry but has concerns over the continued limits on system size and the potential for ‘phantom’ certificates to also undermine the overall target promised by the government at the 2007 election.

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