The independent expert Climate Change Authority, established as a key plank of the agreement between the Greens and Government to put a price on pollution and invest in clean, renewable energy, has today confirmed that the Renewable Energy Target is good policy which should be extended and strengthened beyond 2020.
"The evidence is in that clean, renewable energy brings down the price of power. It's time for the polluters and their boosters to stop spreading misinformation and get on board with moving to 100% renewable energy as fast as possible," Australian Greens Leader, Senator Christine Milne, said.
"The Climate Change Authority is one of the great outcomes of the Multi-Party Climate Change negotiations, providing the community and the Parliament with high level advice on climate science and the policy frameworks necessary to tackle it.
"This first report is a very constructive contribution to the debate, recognising the Renewable Energy Target as an important complimentary measure to the price on pollution which has resulted in huge investment, and effectively rebuking the old fossil fuel sector which wants to abolish the RET to halt or delay the roll out of renewable energy.
"The Climate Change Authority confirms that renewable energy is bringing down the price of wholesale power, largely because its running costs are so cheap, and its modelling shows that household power bills could go up if the target were abolished.
"It is great that the CCA has recommended keeping the 2020 renewable energy target as a fixed target, meaning that approximately 25% of Australia's electricity will be pollution free by that time.
"I also welcome the review in 2016 of a post 2020 target. This is essential as a signal to investors and the Greens are working hard to build the case for 100% renewable energy as soon as possible and a minimum of 50% by 2030, including through pushing for modelling of 100% renewable energy by the Australian Energy Market Operator.
"Highlighted in the report is the fact that the penalty for not meeting the target is not indexed for inflation and is becoming not a punitive measure but a commercial option. This is unacceptable as the modeling shows that, if the carbon price is zero, as Tony Abbott wants it to be, then some companies will choose to pay the penalty rather than meet the renewable energy target.
"We have to do everything in our power to address this issue.
"The other welcome fining is that the Clean Energy Finance Corporation should fund technologies that are not already supported by the Renewable Energy Target - in other words, an investment strategy that is additional to the RET. This should bring on technologies such as concentrating solar power with storage, geothermal and energy efficiency innovation."