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Government announces review of Renewable Energy Target

The Minister for the Environment, the Hon Greg Hunt MP, and the Minister for Industry, the Hon Ian Macfarlane MP, today announced a review into the Mandatory Renewable Energy Target (RET).

The RET, currently set at 41,000 gigawatt hours (GWh), has come under fire from industry in recent times for driving up the price of electricity.

The target was initially designed to reach 20% of total electricity use by 2020 but falling demand for electricity means that the volume target, which is legislated, is likely to exceed the 20% objective significantly.

The review has been initiated under legislation establishing the RET, which required a review in 2014. The review also fulfils an election commitment of the Coalition.

The review will investigate, among other things:

  • The effectiveness of the RET in reducing carbon emissions;
  • The impact of the RET as it contributes to consumer electricity bills and the operation of the electricity market;
  • The impact of assorted state renewable energy schemes on the environment and electricity prices; and
  • The costs and benefits for the renewable energy sector, industry (particularly manufacturing) and households.

The review panel will be chaired by businessman Mr Dick Warburton AO LVO. Other panel members include:

  • Mr Brian Fisher AO PSM, economist and former head of ABARE;
  • Ms Shirley In’t Veld, former managing director of Verve Energy (now merged with Synergy); and
  • Mr Matthew Zema, CEO of VENCorp

The Secretariat for the review will be based in the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet and include specialists from the Departments of Industry and Environment. The panel will submit the review to the Government by the middle of the year, and its findings will inform the Energy White Paper process.

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