Minister exposed as clueless on state's Renewable Energy Target

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The Coalition’s lone champion of renewable energy, NSW Environment Minister Rob Stokes, has revealed the state has no plan to meet its declared target for 20 per cent renewable energy by 2020.

Under questioning by the Labor Opposition in budget estimates the NSW Environment Minister revealed himself unaware of both current renewable energy penetration in NSW and whether the state is on track to meet the target of 20 per cent renewable energy by 2020.

The Minister was confused as to whether the state even has a 20 per cent renewable energy target or whether only the Commonwealth’s target applies.

The NSW Liberals & Nationals Plan to Boost Renewable Energy policy released before the 2011 NSW election clearly states their intention to ‘provide a blueprint to increase the proportion of energy from 7% to meet the target of 20% renewable energy consumption by 2020.’

“Rob Stokes has styled himself as the Arnold Schwarzenegger of Australian politics – being the lone conservative voice in Australia advocating for renewable energy – but he has been exposed today as having no knowledge of the current penetration of renewables in NSW and whether the state can reach the 2020 target,” Shadow Minister for the Environment Luke Foley said.

“The Minister talks the talk – telling clean energy advocates he will make NSW the California of Australia for renewable energy – but there is no substance behind the rhetoric.

“How can we meet the target for renewable energy when there are no measurements, no projections, and no reporting against the target?”

Mr Foley said the Environment Minister acknowledged that he is officially accountable for the NSW 2021 State Plan Target – “20% renewable energy by 2020” – but is clueless as to both where we are and how we are going to get there.

Under further questioning, the Minister also revealed his complete ignorance of his own government’s submission to the current review of the Commonwealth Renewable Energy Target.

“Mr Stokes claimed the NSW Government supports the Commonwealth’s 41,000 GWh renewable energy target by 2020, yet his government’s submission to the Review argues for the 2020 target to be pushed back – a significant weakening of the Commonwealth’s Renewable Energy Target.

“The effect of the NSW Government submission to push back the 2020 renewable energy target, if adopted, would cruel investment in many wind projects planned for NSW.

“The growth of renewable energy in our state would slow dramatically if the Baird Liberal Government’s submission is implemented by the Abbott Liberal Government.”