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Government reduces Renewable Energy Target (RET) by 20%

The Australian government has mandated that by 2020, approximately 16% of Australia’s energy will be supplied by renewable sources.

On Wednesday, the major parties finally adopted a bipartisan position towards a clean energy future and the Renewable Energy Target (RET) legislation passed through the Senate. It signalled the end of the 18 month long inquiry, the 9th RET inquiry to occur in the last 3 years. These inquiries had the effect of causing uncertainty and freezing investment for major projects.

Although the 16% RET (which equates to 33 TWh*) was downgraded from the 20% RET (41 TWh) set by Labor in 2009, the finalised RET is still good news for Renewable Sector. The legislated RET now provides certainty not only for the future planning and financing of projects, but also for the 20,000 current jobs directly employed by Renewable Energy Industries.

According to The Clean Energy Council’s Chief Executive Kane Thornton; the RET is predicted to attract $40 billion dollars in investment and create 15,200 jobs over its lifetime. Thornton also said the legislation provides “the platform for a doubling of renewables over the next 5 years.”

Now the political stalling and investment freezing has ended, there is a great opportunity for the Australian Renewable Energy Sector. The Clean Energy council of Australia has been talking about the big things a RET will provide so it is finally time for them to show the world what it can do. *TWh: TerraWatt hours (or TWh) is a unit of measurement for energy consumption.

Source: CEC, 21 June 2015, “Renewable energy crisis is over”, Available from: http://www.cleanenergycouncil.org.au/media-centre/media-releases/June-2015/ret-passed.html, accessed 24 June 2015.

Weston, D, 23 June 2015, “Australia approves RET cut to 33TWh”, Available from: http://www.windpowermonthly.com/article/1352943/australia-approves-ret-cut-33twh, Accessed 24 June 2015.

ABC, 23 June 2015, “Renewable Energy Target: Legislation to cut RET passes Federal Parliament”, Available from: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-06-23/amendments-to-cut-renewable-energy-target-pass-parliament/6568642, accessed 24 June 2015.

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The Author

Dan Hede

Dan Hede’s appetite for the environment began at the early age of two when he ate earthworms from his backyard. Now more than twenty years on, his appetite has blossomed into a passion which has taken him from the remotest regions of the Bolivian Amazon to the largest, most polluted cities of India and to the doorsteps of local people in rice farming villages in the highland rainforests of Sri Lanka. Dan is a University academic scholarship recipient, a Science graduate, a seasoned traveller and a realistic conservationist. Currently Dan owns his own Ecological consultancy company which specialises in Ecosystem restoration and design. He is also volunteering as a product designer and consultant for ‘Waste for Life’ a non for profit organisation working to set up a sustainable, grass roots recycling program in Sri Lanka. Dan has a growing profile as a Science Communicator and has worked with local artists to present environmental issues in novel and interesting ways for the understanding and enjoyment of all.

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