The Newcastle and Lake Macquarie Greens are backing calls from the community and renewable energy industry for the Abbott Government to protect and strengthen, not cut, the Renewable Energy Target.
Participating in the national Rally for Renewables, Greens by-election candidate for Newcastle Michael Osborne said, “Newcastle and the wider Hunter Valley needs a transition away from coal and the Renewable Energy Target is working to drive the investment in renewable energy that supports that transition.
“The Greens are calling on the Federal Government to back a jobs rich future for Newcastle and the Hunter and continue to expand the Renewable Energy Target.”
A report from the Australia Institute earlier this year highlighted that 95% of Hunter residents don’t work in the coal industry and that only 2% of NSW revenue comes from coal royalties. In contrast analysis by the Centre for Full Employment has shown that a shift to renewable energy and away from coal in the Hunter and Wyong region could create a net gain of at least 3,900 jobs. (1)
“Coal is not vital to the Hunter’s future, but a strong Renewable Energy Target is,” Michael Osborne said.
Newcastle is a hotspot for solar power installations with over 10% of homes fitted with photovoltaic cells. (2)
Greens by-election candidate for Charlestown Jane Oakley said, “It is ridiculous that the Government is considering cutting a program that is working to deliver renewable energy. Renewable energy is powering our homes and businesses now and we need more, not less, for a clean energy future.”
“The small-scale component of the Renewable Energy Target, which supports household and community scale renewable energy, has driven the installation of renewable capacity that is already more than 50% above the 2020 target for the scheme. (3)
“The recommendation in the report is to substantially wind back the small-scale component of the RET. It is akin to punishing the small-scale renewables sector for being too successful.
“We’ve seen organisations like the Central Coast Renewable Energy Association and other community cooperatives driving local energy projects across the state. They are relying on the RET to keep these community building projects viable.
“Instead of trying to stall the installation of household and community scale solar systems, the Government should be talking about a phase-out plan for existing dirty coal generators as renewable shows it can take over.
For more information see:
2. See PV installations by Local Government Area: http://pv-map.apvi.org.au/hist
3. Executive Summary of RET Review Report: http://retreview.dpmc.gov.au/s
Michael Osborne, 0439 442 984
Jane Oakley, 0401 867 080