Abolishing RET would kill thousands of solar jobs: report

The abolition of the Renewable Energy Target (RET) could see thousands of solar PV jobs lost in five years, according to a report to be released.

According to Energy Matters, REC Agents Association (RAA) will today release a report that claims as many as 6,750 could be lost nation-wide if those who want the RET to be scrapped get their way.

Under the RET, Australia has committed to ensure that 20 per cent of its electricity will be generated from renewable sources by 2020. The target has seen a significant increase in employment in the renewable energy sector.

As the Business Spectator reports, many within the Coalition including Prime Minister Tony Abbott have signalled the RET may be scrapped. There has been pressure from industry to do just that and Abbott has concerns that the RET is contributing to higher power bills.

However, according to the RAA study, the RET is not having a large impact on electricity prices.

“If the Renewable Energy Target is axed, 2,000 jobs could be lost straight away and thousands of new jobs would not be created”, said Fiona O’Hehir, Vice-President of RAA and CEO of Greenbank Environmental, who commissioned the analysis.

“Axing the RET is on the Government’s agenda and they need to understand this would have a diabolical impact on jobs, industry and the hundreds of thousands of Australians who want to put solar on their homes.”

According to the study, if the parallel reduction in the wholesale cost of electricity delivered by solar is taken into account, the real cost of the SRES component of the RET (which forms the basis of home solar subsidisation) is only $1.90 per quarter. This is an increase of 0.38% for the average household bill per quarter.

And, as The Guardian reports, the success of the Government’s Direct Action climate policy is said to be ‘co-dependent’ on other policies, particularly the RET. It is claimed that, without it, Australia’s carbon emission targets could not be met.

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