Last Friday a provisional deal was struck between Australia’s Government and the Opposition Party that will cut the country’s 2020 Renewable Energy Target from 41,000GWh to 33,000GWh.
The cut is not as bad as it could have been, but there’s very little good news to be had other than that, with the Government backflipping on its promise not to review the Renewable Energy Target (RET) every four years — instead, sticking to a review every two years. While this may sound a non-issue, the retroactive nature of policy means that Australia is only one year away from another review of the RET.
Considering that the last review of the RET has lasted over a year, and cost the Australian renewable energy industry 90% in investments, not to mention job losses in the thousands, this RET deal may be more of a wolf in sheep’s clothing than some are admitting.
According to Giles Parkinson at RenewEconomy, “The government, typically, is selling this as an increased target.” As Parkinson notes, “It is anything but.”
“The deal means a cut of more than one-third of what will be built between its election and 2020 – a reduction of some 3,000 MW as we reported here, although the Coalition wanted even bigger reductions.”
The ‘deal’ is a clear failing on the part of the Liberal Australian Government, who have shown themselves to be beholden to the coal and fossil fuel industries. A new report recently showed that Australia could reach 100% renewables by 2050, not so long after one of Australia’s largest polluters released their plan to completely decarbonise by 2050.
The Australian renewable energy industry has copped a horrible deal over the past 18 months, with political uncertainty laying waste to a once promising and world-leading market. But as RenewEconomy also points out, Australia’s Industry minister Ian Macfarlane has already “announced the 2016 review even before he has presented legislation from the 2014 review” — one of four reviews the Liberal government has conducted on the renewable energy industry.
What is driving the political fervor into shredding the renewable energy industry in Australia?
At least one factor has to be the impact of the chairman of Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s Business Advisory Council, Maurice Newman, who recently wrote an op-ed piece for The Australian in which he labelled the United Nations as “opposed to capitalism and freedom” and who have “made environmentalism catastrophism a household topic to achieve its objective.”
What is that ‘objective’?
“It’s about a new world order under the control of the UN.”
In all likelihood, the only solution to revitalizing the Australian renewable energy industry will be a change in leadership at the very top — and with a number of other political issues surrounding the current Australian Liberal Government, we are thankfully a little closer to such a conclusion.