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Australian government refuses to replace renewable energy target

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Staff Writer | September 19, 2018
Angus Taylor
Australia   Minister for Energy Angus Taylor

Australia's Minister for Energy Angus Taylor has ruled out extending the nation's renewable energy target (RET) beyond its peak in 2020.

Deputy leader of the Australian Greens Adam Bandt on Tuesday evening expressed concern that investment in renewable energy would plunge when the current RET expired in 2020, calling on Taylor to extend it to 2022.

"The renewable energy target is going to wind down from 2020, it reaches its peak in 2020, and we won't be replacing that with anything," Taylor told the parliament.

The RET dictates that 23.5 percent of Australia's energy must be sourced from clean sources by 2020.

Under the RET, those who invest in renewable energy are eligible for financial incentives.

Australian Chief Scientist Alan Finkel in 2017 recommended that the government establish a "clean energy target" to replace the RET.

The government shot down that recommendation, instead of developing the National Energy Guarantee (NEG), which included a 26-percent emission reduction target.

That target was key in the downfall of Malcolm Turnbull as prime minister after conservative members of government agitated against any emission target.

Scott Morrison, who succeeded Turnbull as PM after a ballot on the leadership of the governing Liberal Party, announced earlier in September that his government would abandon the NEG.

The opposition Australian Labor Party (ALP) has vowed to introduce a 45-percent emissions reduction target if victorious at the next general election but Taylor said such an ambitious target would mean "we will all pay more for our electricity."

"We will drive prices down, that's our policy, those opposite will drive them up," he said.


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