Renewables group backs aluminium’s separation from RET

Australia’s peak renewable energy group will support a plan
to exempt the aluminium industry from the Renewable Energy Target (RET).

The SMH reports that the Clean Energy Council’s (CEC) support
for the change is based on the view that the exemption can ensure bipartisan
support for keeping the RET.

In addition, according to figures from the CEC and ROAM
consulting, excluding the aluminium industry from the target would only
increase household power bills by between $2 and $4.50 a year.

The ALP has signalled that it will accept an exemption for
the aluminium industry on the grounds that it contributes significantly to regional
employment.

As the Examiner reports, the move has also been supported by
the Australian Workers Union.

However, Greens leader Christine Milne opposes the position
of the CEC. ‘‘To cave in to government pressures and the big polluters is
frankly pathetic,’’ she said.

Claiming that a possible exemption would ‘‘brown down’’ the
RET and undermine its purpose, Milne said that Australia has a surplus energy
supply.

‘‘That’s why it’s the
best opportunity we’ve ever had to shut down coal-fired generation,’’ she said.