Australia’s Labor Party will not support a deal on the Renewable Energy Target (RET) over its biennial reviews and the inclusion of wood waste from native forests, despite Coalition announcements that a deal had been reached.
PV Tech reported yesterday that minister for industry and science Ian Macfarlane had announced that the country’s two main parties had reached an agreement to reduce the RET target to 33,000GWh, but according to local reports, opposition environment minister Mark Butler told reporters the inclusion of a two-yearly review would hinder investment in the industry and cause uncertainty.
Butler told reporters: “Unless the government drops that, this deal cannot proceed.
“I thought we had a position of agreement based on the 33,000GWh large-scale target. What the government should do is drop this silliness of re-arguing the case on the reviews, which were dropped months before."
John Grimes, chief executive of the Australian Solar Council, said the Council fully backs Labor’s position on the reviews and the inclusion of wood waste in the target.
The RET has been reviewed three times in three years and the Coalition government is now pressing for a further review to start in seven months time.
Grimes said another review would "devastate" Australia’s solar industry.
After the recent Coalition announcement that a deal had been reached, Clean Energy Council chief executive Kane Thornton expressed "serious concern" about the retaining of the biennial review, which he claimed the industry had been given repeated assurances would be removed.
However, Labor's backing away from the RET deal is also likely to continue investor uncerntainty for the renewables industry. Thornton said the RET review, which has already lasted for 14 months, caused this uncertainty and hundreds of jobs to be lost.