Changes to RET Risks $10 Billion in Regional Investment

10 September 2012

Leading Australian renewable energy company Pacific Hydro, has warned that continuing to make substantive changes to the Large-scale Renewable Energy Target (LRET) which has bipartisan support in its current form, is simply inviting vested interests to undermine market confidence and investments in renewable energy.

“Renewable energy, like all electricity infrastructure, is a long-term investment which requires stable policy”, said Mr Lane Crockett, general manager for Australia at Pacific Hydro.

“Since the creation of the LRET, Australia has been considered a good place to invest in renewable energy and we should not be putting that at risk with ill-considered tampering of good policy”.

“By continually changing the goal posts, you not only risk losing around $10 billion of investment in regional Australia along with the thousands of jobs that go with it, you lose the opportunity to transform our energy sector.”

The LRET is the policy driving investment in large-scale renewable energy across Australia. The policy has attracted constant negative attention from fossil fuel interests since it was first introduced in 2001 because of its success.

South Australia has demonstrated the opportunities that large-scale renewable energy can bring. The state now has around 25% installed wind capacity which has not only resulted in a lowering of emissions intensity in the state, but also meant that both Playford B and Northern coal fired power stations are turned off unless called upon by the Australian Energy market Operator (AEMO) to generate.

“Renewable energy has been through years of boom bust which must cease,” added Mr Crockett.

“There will always be calls from entrenched, vested interests to nobble the LRET with claims that it will save money, but that’s a very short sighted view.  We could save money by decreasing our health budget and start closing beds in our hospitals but this does not serve in the best interests of Australians or make it cheaper in the longer term for the community.”

“In the same way, by changing the renewable energy policy settings again we risk undermining a positive initiative that is working to drive investment in cleaner technologies and make our communities a healthier place to live.”

Pacific Hydro is an Australian owned company with interests in large-scale wind, geothermal, hydro and solar PV.