The Clean Energy Council, the peak body of the renewable energy industry, has called on the federal government and opposition to accept a compromise Renewable Energy Target for large-scale renewable energy of 33,500 gigawatt-hours by 2020 to end political deadlock that has brought investment in large-scale renewables to a screeching halt.

It has also backed providing full exemption to emissions-intensive trade exposed industries, such as aluminium smelting.

The position represents more than a 30 per cent cut to the current target.

“As reported today, the Clean Energy Council has written to the Prime Minister and Leader of the Opposition with a proposal that is halfway between the positions of the Federal Government and Opposition,” Clean Energy Council chief executive Kane Thornton said.

“While this compromise represents more than a 30 per cent cut to the amount of new renewable energy required, accepting this package can quickly unlock over $10 billion of new investment, protect the 21,000 jobs in the sector and create more than 6000 new jobs around the country from large-scale renewable projects.

“We are calling on both major parties to show leadership and to compromise, providing a future for the renewable energy industry in Australia and unlock the massive economic potential of the sector.

“As part of the proposal, we have also asked the government to reverse its position to close down the Australian Renewable Energy Agency and the Clean Energy Finance Corporation, which are both critical to support the next generation of renewable energy technology and local innovation.”

Investment in large-scale renewable energy collapsed by almost 90 per cent in 2014 as a result of policy uncertainty around the target.

Mr Thornton said there was already significant agreement between the major parties about the future of the RET, but the target for large-scale renewable energy out to 2020 remained a sticking point.

The Clean Energy Council has also called on both parties to:

  • Leave the Small-scale Renewable Energy Scheme unchanged
  • Remove the legislated requirement for a review of the policy every two years
  • Provide full exemption for emissions-intensive trade exposed industries

“The clean energy sector calls on both major parties to support this proposal, to end the crisis and unlock the future of renewable energy in Australia,” Mr Thornton said.

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