Trouble in Tony’s Liberal camp: many want to keep Renewable Energy Target

Coalition battle looms over new Renewable Energy Target THE AUSTRALIAN SID MAHER AUGUST 19, 2014 

A BRUISING battle looms within the Coalition over the extent of cuts to the Renewable Energy Target as clean energy companies warn any weakening of the policy will cause projects to collapse and undermine international investor confidence in Australia.

A review of the RET headed by businessman Dick Warburton has been handed to Tony Abbott, igniting internal jockeying over the future of the policy, ahead of a decision expected within weeks.

Some senior members of the government want to scrap it completely while Environment Minister Greg Hunt and 25 backbenchers support reducing the target to a “true 20 per cent’’, which would see the large-scale scheme rolled back from its current 41,000GWh to about 25,000GWh.

Supporters of a “true 20 per cent’’ told The Australian yesterday abandoning the policy would amount to breaking an election promise and would risk a Senate stalemate that would entrench the current target.

With no legislative partner, the Prime Minister would be left in the same position as with his attempt to change Section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act, and be unable to act.

Labor environment spokesman Mark Butler, Greens leader Christine Milne and Clive Palmer yesterday ruled out allowing any weakening of the 41,000GWh target…….

Victorian Liberal backbencher Sarah Henderson also spoke out in support of maintaining the RET. “The RET is so important for local jobs and for regional prosperity. As a strong supporter of renewable energy, I will continue my campaign to ensure the RET remains in place,’’ Ms Henderson said.

Opposition Treasury spokesman Chris Bowen said apparent intentions to wind back the RET represented a sovereign risk.

“We have $11 billion of investment in renewable energy based on clear government policy, a policy which had been bipartisan, and we see the government floating, walking away from that target. That creates sovereign risk for Australia’s investors,’’ he said.  http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/coalition-battle-looms-over-new-renewable-energy-target/story-fn59niix-1227028613526

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