The renewable energy industry is full of surprises, but none more so than what happened recently when Dio Wang, the top senatorial candidate of the Palmer United Party, formed by mining magnate Clive Pamer, said in a statement that the Renewable Energy Target should not be changed. In the press release, Wang said that he “believes the RET scheme should remain as is” and that he is ‘worried” over the Australian government’s statement they are reviewing it.
Clive Palmer- Full Support for Renewable Energy Target
Wang further said that he thinks the government review is “wasting taxpayers’ money”, and that the renewable energy sector remains an important source of employment in Australia. There are statistics that demonstrate this, as the solar panel industry has provided jobs for more people than the gas and oil extraction sectors combined. In fact, even if the coal manufacturing and gas supply sectors were added, the solar power industry is still a bigger source of employment.
Wang’s statement has been echoed by Clive Palmer, the PUP leader who, it has been reported in the Sydney Morning Herald, declared himself a supporter of renewable and solar power. According to industry and political observers, if this is the position that Clive Palmer has taken, then the lobby campaign to have the Renewable Energy Target (RET) watered down is doomed to fail.
Implications of the PUP Statement on Renewable Energy Industry
Regardless of the outcome of the WA senatorial election, it is reasonable to assume that there will be at least 37 Senate votes to block any attempts to amend the Renewable Energy Act. According to political analysts, the Greens will provide 9 votes and 25 or more from Labor and the rest from the Clive Palmer PUP.
While there are still some political analysts who are trying to determine the reason for the PUP’s stance, Clive Palmer has received several congratulatory messages from the solar power and energy sector. Kane Thornton, Deputy Chief Executive of the Clean Energy Council, said that the PUP announcement was “a big boost for the clean energy industry.”
According to Thornton, Clive Palmer recognizes the significance of renewable energy in the country. Thornton went on to stress the advantages of renewable energy has been proven by analysts, putting to rest the many criticisms aimed at it. In fact, political observers say that Palmer’s support was brought about by the positive results of the ACIL Allen study showing prices will go down in the long term.
Under the Renewable Energy Target, the industry will provide hundreds of billions of dollars in jobs and investments, which should flow into different regions. With the support now being provided by Clive Palmer, it’s widely expected these projects will bear fruit. Together with the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA), the RET is expected to play a major role in jump-starting the development of clean energy systems.
Just like everywhere else, there’s politics surrounding the renewable energy industry, but with the support provided by Palmer and the PUP, any attempt to derail the Act during the negotiations at the Senate will be prevented.