Gov admits it has no renewables policy and stands condemned: Bandt
Greens climate change and energy spokesperson, Adam Bandt MP, said the government’s boast in Parliament today that it will have no renewable energy policy has condemned Australia to higher power bills, more pollution and worsening climate change.
In Question Time, Mr Bandt called on the government and the opposition to support a Greens move to temporarily extend the Renewable Energy Target (RET) for the life of the next Parliament, allowing the renewables boom to continue while the climate and energy policy impasse is resolved after the next election.
New renewables are being built at record rates in 2018 and 2019 , but there is no policy in place to continue the boom when the RET runs out in 2020. The Greens have already introduced legislation, in line with party policy, to extend the RET until 2030. However, taking into account the political landscape, an impending election and increasing uncertainty threatening the current renewables boom, an interim stop-gap measure is needed to provide industry with the investment signal they require to continue constructing new generation.
By legislating an extension to the RET until the end of 2022, to cover the life of the next parliament, new climate policies can be debated and implemented urgently while the renewables boom continues. The Greens propose a target of at least 45,000 GWh for the year 2022, which if legislated now would give industry more than 4 more years of certainty. Credible industry estimates suggest the original target of 41,000 GWh by 2020 is set to be exceeded. 
On Tuesday, when asked in Question Time if he would support this proposal, Energy Minister Angus Taylor said:
“The Renewable Energy Target is going to wind down from 2020, the target reaches a peak in 2020, and we will not be replacing that with anything.”
Quotes attributable to Adam Bandt MP:
“The Liberals are now openly boasting that they have no renewable energy policy, condemning Australia to higher power bills, more pollution and worsening climate change,” said Mr Bandt.
“This coal-hugging Minister is a direct threat to our way of life.
“This government must be turfed out as soon as possible.
“Angus Taylor is the Grim Reaper for renewable energy.
“To avoid a valley of death for renewable energy, we need to extend the RET.
“Over 2018 and 2019, new renewables are going up in Australia at record rates. This is in large part due to the RET, which even the Energy Security Board and Reserve Bank have said is a big driver of future power bill cuts.
“But the RET runs out in 2020 and now the Minister has confirmed that there’s no renewables policy to take its place.
“If the RET isn’t extended, there’s a real risk that the next government will not be able to implement a new policy in time to avoid an investment drought.
“The Greens are willing to compromise to provide the industry with certainty. The RET has successfully reduced the price of electricity and is well-understood by industry.
“The Greens are calling on sensible members of the government backbench and the opposition to evaluate this proposal seriously and pass it this year.”
Contact: Gideon Reisner, 0429 109 054