States aim to make powerful new target
Now that the Federal Government has successfully slashed the Renewable Energy Target, progressive State Governments could fill the void.
Several state and territories are working on an agreement to collaborate on large-scale renewable energy projects.
The environment ministers of the ACT, South Australia, Victoria and Queensland have “vowed to work together to tackle climate change in a nonpartisan effort to decarbonise Australia's economy,” according to ACT Minister for the Environment, Simon Corbell.
The agreement was reached at a jurisdictional meeting on climate change in Adelaide, creating a sub-national level of projects to progress renewable energy uptake, energy efficiency strategies and adaptation policies.
“There is a lot that can be achieved by State and Territory Governments taking the lead on climate change,” Mr Corbell said.
But there is a big hitch, because the Federal Renewable Energy Act 2000 has a section specifically preventing state governments from introducing their own schemes.
Ministers around the country are calling on the Federal Government to remove the block, so they can take their own way forward.
Environment Victoria chief executive Mark Wakeham says it is time to leave the Federal Government behind.
“In the past they've opposed state action, but for the past three years, they've undermined national action,” he said.
“They deserve whatever they get in terms of policy at a state level.”
Greens NSW MP Dr John Kaye says the deal between Labor and the Federal Government means “NSW’s clean energy sector has been shafted’.
“Federal Labor has colluded with the Abbott government to gut 8,000 GWh from the Renewable Energy Target,” he said.
“While the investment environment now has a chance to recover from more than a year of uncertainty, NSW still stands to lose opportunities that would bring more than $2 billion in investment and create more than 600 new jobs.
“The sharp edge of these cuts can be blunted by a state-based mechanism that provides additional support to the industry.”
He said if the ACT can do it, anyone can.
“The ACT government has used reverse auctions to deliver large scale clean energy projects despite the crippling effects of policy uncertainty out of Canberra,” Dr Kaye said.