Liberal MP calls for compromise on RET

A Liberal MP has said the Government needs to support a compromise renewable energy target and put an end to the uncertainty hitting the renewable energy sector.

As Sky News reports, Victorian Liberal MP Dan Tehan (pictured) wants the Government to commit to a target of sourcing 33,000GWh gigawatt hours (GWh) of energy from renewable energy sources by 2020. He said this would end the stand-off with the Opposition and minor parties.

As it stands, the government says it will not budge from its preferred target of sourcing 32,000 GWh.

At present the target is 41,000 GWh, a figure which was originally intended to represent 20 per cent of Australia’s energy usage.

However, the Government wanted to reduce the target to 26,000 GWh, on the grounds that, because of declining energy usage, that figure represents a ‘true 20 per cent’.

It has since moved to a figure 32,000 GWh but will not reduce it further.

The Labor Party wants a target of 33,500 GWh and Tehan wants the two parties to meet in the middle at 33,000GWh.

"This has been dragging on too long; there are potentially hundreds if not thousands of jobs at risk. 33,000 gigawatt hours is the feedback I'm getting on what the compromise should be, both from the emissions-intensive trade-exposed industries and from members of the Clean Energy Council," Tehan said.

"It is time that both sides came together in a bipartisan fashion and resolved this impasse."

As the SMH reports, Tehan's electorate of Wannon is home to Portland Aluminium, which employs 750 people, and wind farm maker Keppel Prince which employs about 150.

Without a compromise, said Tehan , these and many more jobs would be put at risk. This is because the uncertainty surrounding the RET is causing uncertainty in the renewable energy sector and harming investment.

As the ABC reports, Keppel Prince laid off 100 workers last October. The company’s general manager Steve Garner told 7.30 the business is in a "state of limbo".

"My greatest desire is to get this business back to where it should be and to create those jobs again," he said.