This week marked an important event for the renewable energy industry in Australia. The Warburton Report, which outlined two propositions to significantly downscale funding to the renewable energy sector, was rejected this week by the federal Cabinet.
For the past few months, Australia’s renewable energy sector has been in a period of turmoil, with political instability, resulting from the Warburton report, as the main source. Bloomberg New Energy Finance found that investment in large-scale clean energy projects had in fact decreased by 78% for the same period than the previous year, all due to the political uncertainty arising from the Warburton report.
Government Opposition to the Renewable Energy Industry
When the previous government established the Renewable Energy Target (RET), funding internal and external to Australia was poured into the sector. However, since the Abbott government’s many decisions regarding environmental conservation in the country, many people believed that the RET would also be dissolved.
Warburton Report Recommendations
The Warburton report recommended making it virtually impossible for new renewable energy companies to enter the marketplace, effectively halting the growth of the sector. It also recommended adjusting the RET to a target that reflected the growth of electricity demand in Australia, representing a ‘true’ 20% increase in renewable energy. Regardless of what the recommendations were, it is no longer a threat, and what a major relief it is for the renewable energy industry and for concerned citizens alike.
The lesson to be learned from the events of the past few months is that environmentalists in Australia, regardless of what industry they work in, are still going to face many challenges on the road to building a more sustainable Australia. Many environmental companies are still quite vulnerable to political decisions and therefore rely heavily on continued support if they ever stand a chance at becoming competition for more established companies.
The rejection of the Warburton report’s recommendations are just one small victory in the struggle for a greener planet.