Govt's renewable energy target attack 'increasingly futile'
The Abbott government is increasingly isolated in its continued push to axe the Renewable Energy Target (RET), the Australian Solar Council (ASC) has said in a statement.
In an extraordinary attack on the government's campaign, Australian Solar Council Chief Executive John Grimes has said there has been overwhelming public support for solar power and little to no prospect of political support from other parties in the Senate to axe the RET.
Grimes said the government was subjecting itself to massive political pain with little or no prospect of delivering change to the Target through the Senate.
"The message for the Abbot government is clear – stop siding with the big power companies who stand to benefit from destroying the Target," Grimes said.
"Rooftop solar cuts household electricity bills by 65 per cent. Cutting the Target will increase the cost of rooftop solar by up to 50 per cent, putting it out of reach of ordinary Australian households.
"If the government kills the Target it will deliver a $7 billion revenue windfall to the big power companies over the next 15 years but households will continue to pay more.
"Removing the Target would cause thousands of Australians to lose their jobs as small solar businesses shut up shop and big solar projects stop dead in their tracks or move overseas.
"Dismantling John Howard's Renewable Energy Target is not what the people thought they were voting for, and certainly not what they want."
A firm stance from other parties
The Save Solar Community Forum in Sydney held on Wednesday heard from Opposition Leader Bill Shorten, Greens Leader Christine Milne and from a written statement from the Palmer United Party – all backing no change to the RET.
"No case has been made for a change to the Renewable Energy Target whatsoever," Shorten told the Forum.
"Labor is standing strong behind the RET … we are not for turning on the issue of renewable energy."
Clive Palmer, Federal leader of the Palmer United Party, and Senator Glenn Lazarus, Leader of Palmer United said in a statement that the Prime Minister and those in the government who wanted to wreck the RET were "on the back foot".
The statement said: "The Palmer United Party will block any attempt by the government to remove or reduce the Renewable Energy Target.
"This is our commitment to the people of Australia and we will do everything within our power to ensure the target is retained."
Greens Leader Christine Milne confirmed the party's commitment to the RET and called for an increase in the Target to 90 per cent by 2030, with the ultimate goal of 100 per cent renewable sources of power.
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