Cuts to renewable energy may cost jobs, increase power bills

A lowering of Australia’s renewable energy target could lead to job losses and higher long-term electricity bills, according to a renewable energy group.

The Age reports that, according to the Clean Energy Council, a cut to the target which currently aims for 20 per cent renewable energy by 2020 could cost 6400 jobs in Victoria alone.

There have been suggestions that the government may not maintain its commitment to the target. Its lack of enthusiasm could be seen last week when Treasurer Joe Hockey told Sydney broadcaster Alan Jones that wind farms are "a blight on the landscape”.

The Clean Energy Council says that if the targets are cut 17 Victorian wind farm projects that have already received state government approval probably won’t proceed.

The SMH reports that, according to modelling commissioned by the Clean Energy Council, cuts to renewable-energy target would also stop $11 billion in future investments in clean energy.

This would translate to increased energy bills for Australian consumers. According to the modelling, in the short term bills will increase, but they would increase by 2020. Household power bills could increase by $50 a year by that time.

The Clean Energy Council’s policy manager, Russell Marsh commented that the renewable energy target ''brings a lot of benefit to Australia''.

Matthew Warren, chief executive of the Energy Supply Association of Australia represents large fossil-fuel power generators. He dismissed the claim that the construction of more renewable-energy projects would lead to cheaper power bills.

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