ALP to support aluminium’s separation from the Renewable Energy Target

The
aluminium sector is to be exempted from the Renewable Energy Target, with the
ALP acknowledging the industry’s contribution to regional employment.

The Australian Financial Review reports today that opposition leader Bill Shorten will work with the government to reach a bi-partisan approach to
the issue.

“This
is a sensible option that Bill [Shorten] has been advocating for in discussions
with the clean energy industry – the cost on regional jobs is just too high,”
an ALP source told The AFR.

Last
week a compromise Renewable Energy target – currently 41,000 Gigawatt hours by
2020 – and the exemption of aluminium from this was predicted, after the Clean
Energy Council signalled its support for this.

If
the target no longer included aluminium, it would likely drop to 39,000
Gigawatt hours.

The
exclusion of aluminium has been pushed by 25 Coalition MPs, led by Wannon’s Dan
Tehan, whose electorate includes the Portland Alcoa smelter.

The
aluminium industry has also been lobbying for this, with one company, Boyne
Smelters Limited, claiming it paid $25 million a year under the RET.

The industry’s heavy energy needs were unique, Tehan has
said.

For instance the smelter in Tasmania uses 25 per cent of the electricity in Tasmania, in Victoria it’s roughly 10 per cent,” he said earlier this year.

“[MPs] are concerned that there has been a smelter that has
closed in the last two years, one which is scheduled to close this year.”

Image: http://aluminium.org.au/Image-Library