Renewable Energy Target critical to achieving any emissions reduction target

27 February 2014

Leading Australian renewable energy company, Pacific Hydro, has come out strongly in support of the Climate Change Authority’s recommendation of a minimum three-fold increase to Australia’s emissions reduction target.

“The Renewable Energy Target (RET) has been the single most effective policy in Australia over the past ten years in achieving emission reduction targets,” said Pacific Hydro general manager for Australia, Mr Lane Crockett.

“The reality is that in the absence of any other effective policy, the 41,000GWh RET must remain unchanged in order to meet the five percent emissions reduction target, let alone any increase in our emissions reduction target.”

A number of analyses in 2012 demonstrated that the RET alone was responsible for 22.5Mt of carbon emissions savings. And without this policy, meeting our Kyoto Protocol commitment would not have been possible.

“At a time when countries around the world are doing more than ever to address climate risk, now is not the time to go backwards on renewable energy ambition.”

The RET legislation is to be reviewed again this year in line with legislative requirements. Some are recommending a significant cut to the 41,000GWh target to bring it in line with what they are terming a ‘real 20%’ despite the policy being designed to achieve “at least 20%”.

Pacific Hydro is of the firm view that the RET should remain unchanged but that the two-year reviews should be replaced by a review trigger such as the certificate price hitting the penalty of $90. Prices are currently below $30.

Since being implemented, the RET has delivered a reduction in wholesale electricity prices, assisted in reducing high price events during peak demand periods and only costs consumers around $30 per year to deliver large scale renewable energy projects.

“Our experience in building, owning and operating renewable energy projects across Australia for more than 20 years is that renewable energy is overwhelmingly welcomed by regional communities.

“Farming communities suffering through ongoing droughts and other extreme weather events, embrace new investment opportunities that do not disrupt current farming practises and ensure their farms can stay in the family and in Australian hands,” said Mr Crockett.