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Renewable energy deadlock 'could cripple' industry

11 December, 2014

Renewable energy firms are pleading with Labor to re-enter talks with the Coalition over Australia's renewable energy target before the end of the year, saying the current political stalemate is "crippling" the industry.

The call follows the release of a new report by the Clean Energy Council detailing how a breakdown in bipartisanship would effectively make existing investments in clean energy sector lose hundred of millions of dollars per year.

An unresolved RET review would cause "a further collapse" in the value of Renewable Energy Certificates and result in losses of over $400 million for existing projects, according to the report. Further delays could also lead to businesses both collapsing and closing, and a loss of more than $14.5 billion in future investment.

Meanwhile there has been to date minimal conversation in Canberra since the opposition walked away from the negotiating table nearly a month ago.

Environment Minister Greg Hunt penned a letter to ALP environment spokesperson Mark Butler, inviting him to resume talks before the end of the year, slamming the party for the unilateral decision taken to "walk away from discussions".

Enlisting cross bench support

Hunt also met with Tasmanian independent senator Jacqui Lambie on Thursday, in an initial step to win some support from crossbenchers, after the minister sent her a letter which she described as "encouraging".

In the letter, Hunt wrote that he appreciated "the pressures faced by businesses around the country, including Tasmania", and hoped to have further constructive discussions with the opposition in the near future.

Clean Energy Council CE Kane Thornton said the government coming to an agreement with crossbenchers would not restore investor certainty in the sector, rather any further conversation would critically have to happen between the two major parties.

Thornton said he assumed, though, by the government wanting to recommence talks, they were prepared to renegotiate the "real 20 per cent" figure.

The opposition for the time being remains intransigent. Butler earlier in the week said:

"We haven't seen any commitment from the government that they're moving from their position of a 40 per cent cut to the RET.

"We're up for a discussion if they are prepared to shift their position, but this industry has said no deal is better than a bad deal."

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Ken Goldsmith | Tuesday, December 16, 2014, 1:41 PM
Good idea. PROVIDED the renewable energy industry can survive WITHOUT GOVT SUBSIDIES, without increasing energy costs to consumers, without causing human and stock health problems, and without killing off too many endangered avian species. The facts that turbines are mechanically unreliable, and the wind is unreliable, will make that difficult, but go to it, guys, just do it ON YOUR OWN MONEY. "We're up for a discussion if they are prepared to shift their position, but this industry has said no deal is better than a bad deal." Yes, taxpayers and energy consumers agree with you. So no deal suits both sides!