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Jobs in renewable energy down: ABS

Employment in the renewable energy sector has dropped by 15
per cent in the last two years, according to the Australian Bureau of
Statistics (ABS).

Energy Matters reports that the figures come as the sector
remains in limbo, with Parliament not yet agreeing on a new Renewable Energy
Target (RET). The lack of certainty surrounding the issue is discouraging
investment and, consequently, affecting jobs.

The findings are part of a new publication from the ABS, Employment
in Renewable Energy Activities, Australia.

According to the figures, since 2011-12 there has been a drop
of 2,300 jobs in the sector. That year saw a peak of 14,890 jobs in the sector,
while today there are just 12,590 people working in renewable energy.

Concerning the RET, the government says it will not budge from its preferred target of sourcing 32,000 gigawatt hours (GWh) of energy
from renewable energy sources by 2020.

“Uncertainty over the future of the RET, or over the
size of the renewable power percentage, is likely to have a flow on effect on
future investment in renewable energy infrastructure,” the report said.

At present the target is 41,000 GWh, a figure which was
originally intended to represent 20 per cent of Australia’s energy usage.

However, the Government wanted to reduce the target to 26,000
GWh, on the grounds that, because of declining energy usage, that figure
represents a ‘true 20 per cent’.

It has since moved to a figure 32,000 GWh but will not
reduce it further.

The Clean Energy Council has proposed a target of 33,500 GWh
target, a figure which the Labor Party has accepted.

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