Self destruction on renewable energy

Press release - 16 February, 2014
Monday 17 February, 2014: Following today’s announcement of the review of the Renewable Energy Target (RET), Greenpeace is calling on the Government to dramatically increase its clean energy ambitions.

“Hours after US Secretary of State John Kerry called climate change a weapon of mass destruction, Australia risks shooting itself in the foot by appointing a climate sceptic to review our renewable energy target,” said Greenpeace Programme Director Ben Pearson.

“If this review is fair dinkum it will find that the RET is good for the environment, good for jobs and good for growth in regional and rural NSW. It will find that the RET helps reduce the price of solar PV for ordinary Australians and all this for an insignificant increase in annual electricity bills”.

In the press conference announcing the review the Environment Minister, Greg Hunt, estimated that the RET increases average prices by only 3% - a tiny amount given the enormous contribution the policy makes.

“Australia has almost unparalleled capacity to harness renewable energy but today we are lagging far behind countries such as China and Germany,” continued Pearson. “The Government should introduce policies that drive the uptake of renewables, not reviews by climate sceptics that provide cover to sabotage existing policies.”

“We all know that moving swiftly to clean energy is vital to combat climate change,” said Pearson. “But already in Australia, tens of thousands of jobs have been created in the sector, particularly in rural and regional areas. And unlike the declining fossil fuel industry, renewables will keep on growing in the future. This is not just of benefit to the economy, but also to the pockets of all Australians, because as renewable energy gets bigger, it will also get cheaper. Renewable energy is a huge opportunity for Australia; we need to grasp it with both hands.”