Senate crossbench proposal may help RET see the light of day

Ever since Tony Abbott became Prime Minister of Australia, the renewable energy industry has suffered and begun going backwards.

From the day Prime Minister Abbott was sworn in, he and his party have blocked the RET, previously implemented by the Labor Government, and instead promoted the Direct Action plan all while championing coal.

The actions taken by the Coalition Government has embarrassed Australia on a global stage and attracted criticism from other world leaders and climate groups.

Senate crossbench proposal put fourth by Senator Jacqui Lambie

However, Tasmanian Senator Jacqui Lambie has put fourth a proposal to the Senate that may assist in getting the renewable energy industry back on track. Lambie’s proposal is to get the Senate to vote for a goal of 32,500GWh as opposed to the Coalition Government’s current 26,000GWh as outlined in their Direct Action Plan.

The proposal, coming from the Tasmanian Minerals and Energy Council as well as the heavy industry, is notably a very large cut from the original plan of the RET to hit 41,000GWh. This initial target had been agreed upon by both parties since 2001.

However, despite the radical slash, it may be the only means to help the Renewable Energy Target ever see the light of day. The debate between the Government and Labor continue to be at an impasse and even led to the Labor party leaving the discussion entirely.

Even with cuts, the new proposal’s goal is higher than Direct Action

Only recently did the Labor party re-open their stance for discussion and are willing to make a compromise so long as the Renewable Energy Target and the industry as a whole would not be significantly cut down the way Prime Minister Tony Abbott initially desired.

Now at the moment the Labor party has declared the proposal target of 32,500 GWh by 2020 is too low. Many believe that this is a smart move on the party because it now forces the Coalition to offer a target even higher than 32,500 GWh.

Labor declares new climate proposal still too low

It has been discussed by Climate Spectator that the Labor Party might concede to a 2020 target of 35,000 GWh. This is still significantly lower than the originally planned 41,000 and it isn’t much of an improvement over 32,500 GWh.

There is also the possibility that the Government would not concede to anything over 30,000 GWh. In that case then even a 35,000 GWh proposal might lead to the dissolution of any possible agreement between the two parties.

In case the senate crossbench proposal deal is done and the Government and Labor concedes to 32,500 GWh, the Labor party would be entirely free to eternally tarnish the name of the Coalition as an anti-clean energy party. They would also have the proof and freedom to call the Coalition a property of corporations known for pollution and constant reliance on fossil fuel or oil.

Australian reliance on fossil fuel and coal mining
Despite global trends moving in the direction of solar power and alternative energy, Australia continues to rely on coal mining and fossil fuels for energy.

Of course for the Labor’s decision to have any credibility then it would have to agree on numbers higher than the crossbench proposal.

All in all, these statistics point out that the senate crossbench proposal would be a better deal than what the Government originally desired and only slightly less than what the Labor party originally wanted. It would also cement the Labor Party’s electoral position in 2016.

There are of course slight wrinkles that could affect the program, such as backhand amendments that would reduce the LRET by a GWh for every 4,000 GWh in the small-scale scenario. In the end, the Coalition might still end up with the 26,500 GWh by 2020 instead of the ideal 32,500 GWh.

The Author

I took an interest in the Australian energy sector close to ten years ago and since then have monitored the trends, technologies and direction of the Australian Energy Market. I was drawn to the Australian solar market in 2008 and since then have worked heavily in the field. I am partnered with national and international solar energy companies, from manufacturers of solar panel and inverter technology, online software developers that introduce tools to quote, monitor and manage solar power systems and media organisations who like myself, closely monitor the solar and renewable energy sector.

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