Thousands of NSW renewable energy jobs at risk due to lower renewable energy target

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The NSW Labor Opposition today expressed disappointment with the federal Government’s deal to lower the Renewable Energy Target (RET) from 41,000 gigawatt hours of annual renewable energy production by 2020, to 33,000 gigawatt hours.

Shadow Minister for Industry, Resources & Energy Adam Searle acknowledged the federal Opposition’s willingness to come to an agreement on the target, but was concerned about the effect the deal would have on the renewable energy industry in NSW.

“Tony Abbott’s lowering of the RET will have a devastating effect on the renewable energy industry in NSW,” Mr Searle said.

“Our talks with industry have already indicated that this compromise will mean that thousands of renewable energy jobs simply won’t go ahead and millions of dollars of investment in NSW will be lost.”

Shadow Minister for the Environment Penny Sharpe rejected the Abbott Government’s proposal to include the burning of native forests in the deal, which Federal Labor also opposes.

“NSW Labor is committed to a prohibition on burning native forests and cleared vegetation for electricity,” Ms Sharpe said.

“The burning of native forests produces large Co2 emissions and it is totally unacceptable that this biomass fuel could be considered green energy, and be included in the renewable energy target.

“The inclusion of biomass fuel in the RET is essentially a further cut to the target and Federal Labor is right to reject it."

Mr Searle added that NSW Labor was also critical of the federal Government’s decision to retain two-yearly reviews of the target.

“The renewable energy industry in NSW needs certainty and the federal Government’s insistence on maintaining the two-yearly reviews of the target are stifling significant investment and valuable green jobs for our state,” Mr Searle said.