Politics hots up – can Victoria create certainty for renewables?

13 Nov

At Enhar we acknowledge the need to stand firm on Australia’s 41,000 GWh renewable energy target by 2020.  The entire industry and the people of Australia have joined Labor in calling on Abbot’s Coalition to see sense and to drop their unjustified attack on renewables and climate policies. Now the prospect of a battle in the Senate looms as the fight for the RET is not over yet.  The support from Palmer and the Greens in the Senate may slow down the Liberal’s efforts to harm the clean energy industry – but this is small consolation to an industry already paralysed by uncertainty.  Federal politics will continue to deliver uncertainty for at least the rest of the term of the current government.

What is needed now is State level support mechanisms to bring back certainty to the renewable energy sector.  We welcome the news that the State Labour party of Victoria are announcing their wind farm policy in Woodend today, including a reduction of the arbitrary 2km setback rules. We hope to see wind regulations in Victoria return to a sensible basis of noise standards, ensuring setbacks to dwellings are appropriate for the size and number of turbines, as they always had been.  We also need the blanket bans on major wind-rich regions arbitrarily imposed in 2011 to be lifted, to enable businesses as well as community groups to develop wind projects.

What Victoria needs now is policies to create incentives for investment in renewables in Victoria. This could be in the form of feed in tariffs for medium and large scale renewable energy projects, phase out of the oldest dirtiest coal plants and a fair feed in tariff for rooftop solar.

Having confirmed their intention to continue the Victorian Energy Efficiency Target, the Victorian Labor party now needs to confirm what incentive they will provide for renewable energy deployment.  This is how certainty can and will be brought back to the beleaguered renewable energy sector.