One of the hottest debates in recent years is the impasse regarding the 2020 Renewable Energy Target and how the Government seems adamant to abandon the initial plans. The debate was stalled last month but it now looks like the Opposition is open to discuss and make compromises.
The RET had seen bipartisan support ever since it was initially announced in 2001. The goal was to cut down emissions by 40% by 2020. Unfortunately, the moment new Prime Minister Tony Abbott took position he immediately began undoing what both parties had agreed on more than a decade ago.
Labor Party fights to maintain at least some aspects of RET
The goal right now is to seek a solution where the RET maintains stability instead of the target being scrapped altogether.
Labor Party leader Bill Shorten as well as Mark Butler, Shadow Minister for Environment, Climate Change and Water, both extended an issue stating that the Labor party was open to more discussions with the Government. This would officially end the impasse of the current debate.
However, they also made it clear that the party would not agree to any form of policy that would cripple the industry of renewable energy. The RET’s goal was to reduce as much emission by 2020 and to ensure that the majority of the country would rely on cheaper, renewable energy sources.
The Coalition, on the other hand, has been on the move to revert back to policies supporting the coal industry.
The Coalition still a strong supporter of the coal industry
Labor Party also acknowledges the impact that the recent impasse has had on the renewable energy sector of the country:
Labor stated that investments in renewable energy have dropped by 70% ever since Tony Abbott sat down as Prime Minister. Tony Abbott was previously one of the most pronounced advocates for the RET until he became Prime Minister and immediately stepped back and started administering pro-coal and fossil fuel policies.
The Clean Energy Council stated that the members were open to compromises as long as the RET would not be abandoned entirely. The CEC stated it would consider proposals to the RET that would aim for mid to high 30,000 GWh in 2020.
Big Business making policy change difficult for Labor Party
As of the moment, major energy retailers like AGL Energy and Origin Energy are constantly on the attack against small-scale solar and have even stated in public that all subsidiaries need to be removed.
How Prime Minister Tony Abbott approaches the new statements by Labor and the CEC is still up in arms. The Prime Minister did recently receive solar panels as a gift for Kirribilli House so the renewable industry and the Labor Party will live in hope that his opinion regarding the technology will change after some exposure to the technology.
Of course at the moment neither of the two major parties have said anything after Labor’s reconsideration to open discussion and debate compromises to the RET so the whole debate is still in hot pursuit of whether or not the RET will stand or be slashed all together.