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Labor will not accept two year reviews in RET deal

The Opposition says it will not pass changes to the
renewable energy target (RET) if they include the provision that the target
will be reviewed every two years.

Last week, after months of deliberating, the two parties agreed
to an in-principle target of 33,000 gigawatt hours of energy produced from
renewable sources by 2020. This figure was revised downwards from a previous
target of 41,000 gigawatt hours.

However, as the SMH reports, in an apparent move by Industry
Minister Ian Macfarlane, the government wants to review the RET every two

According to spokeswoman for Macfarlane, the 33,000
gigawatt hour target would involve a significant increase in renewable energy
and it would be hard for the industry to meet.

She said the two-yearly reviews would ensure electricity
prices wouldn’t go up if the target isn’t met.

Labor’s environment spokesman Mark Butler told the SMH the
Opposition would not support such reviews.

“The industry has made it clear that new building will
not proceed if there is still a two-year review process that would lead to the
review starting in as little as seven months’ time,” he said.

Macfarlane had previously vowed there would be no such

“Now I’ve offered them a process of certainty, I’ve offered
them a number and I’ve offered them a guarantee that this will be the last
review before 2020 so that we change the legislation that requires a review
every two years,” Macfarlane told Sky News in February.

The news that the RET negotiations have again stalled
disappointed not only green groups but also sections of the business community.

According to The Business Council of Australia, Environment
Minister Greg Hunt already has the power to review the RET at any time so reviews
should not be an issue.

AI Group chief executive Innes Willox said review triggers
were a good idea.

“But there is no need to continue with automatic legislated
reviews every two years, which have tended to produce uncertainty rather than
clarity,” he said.

Meanwhile, reports that not all Government
members have accepted the proposed RET. Two appear to be prepared to cross the
floor on the issue. One does not want to see more renewable energy and the
other believes wind turbines pose a health risk.

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